SANTA ANA, California – An Irvine man who pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges related to a bogus commodities trading program that caused losses of approximately $1.6 million was sentenced today to 121 months in federal prison.
Rawle Gerard Suite, 57, was sentenced by United States District Judge James V. Selna.
Suite, who also used the name “Jerry Snead” and other aliases, was sentenced after pleading guilty in June 2017 to four counts of wire fraud. To perpetrate the fraud that took place over a 3½-year period that ended in May 2016, Suite concealed his true identity from investors and used a series of companies with names such as STA Opus, TBT Analysis LLC, and Another Winning Trade that purportedly were trading in commodities that included soybeans, gold, oil and unleaded gas.
As part of the fraudulent scheme, Suite made a series of false claims to investors, such as that STA Opus had annual returns of at least 60 percent, when in fact the company had continually suffered trading losses.
Suite was a registered commodity trading advisor and commodity pool operator from late 1985 until May 3, 1990, when his registration was revoked. Since then, Suite has been targeted twice by the California Department of Corporations, which in 2012 obtained a $2.5 million judgment against Suite, in part for violating a prior order issued by the agency.
“Though this is [Suite]’s first criminal case for investment fraud, it is clear that defendant has a history of fraud and violating court orders,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “Shortly after being enjoined by the Los Angeles Superior Court, defendant began this fraud scheme.”
The case against Suite was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received substantial assistance from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vibhav Mittal of the Santa Ana Branch Office.