Washington, D.C., — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a day trader in Sugar Land, Texas, with defrauding investors in his supposed high-frequency trading program and providing them falsified brokerage records that drastically overstated assets and hid his massive trading losses.
The SEC alleges that Firas Hamdan particularly targeted fellow members of the Houston-area Lebanese and Druze communities, raising more than $6 million during a five-year period from at least 33 investors. Hamdan told prospective investors that he would pool their investments with his own money and conduct high-frequency trading using a supposed proprietary trading algorithm. Hamdan promised annual returns of 30 percent and assured investors that his program was safe and proven when in reality it was a dismal failure, generating $1.5 million in losses. As he failed to deliver the promised profits, Hamdan told investors that his funds were tied up in the Greek debt crisis and the MF Global bankruptcy among other phony excuses.