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Friday, March 1, 2013
North Carolina Commodities Firm Owner Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison for Multimillion-dollar Fraud

The principal and co-owner of North Carolina-based Integra Capital Management LLC, was sentenced today to serve 36 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud commodities trading investors of more than $3.2 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney of the Western District of North Carolina Anne M. Tompkins.

Nicholas Cox, 35, of Lexington, N.C., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr., in the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to his prison term, Cox was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,981,477 in restitution.

On Dec. 22, 2012, Cox pleaded guilty in the Western District of North Carolina to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

According to court documents, between September 2006 and January 2009, Cox and his co-conspirator, Rodney Whitney, 50, of Archdale, N.C., the co-owner of Integra, engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in commodity trading pools operated by the firm.  Integra was established purportedly for the purpose of pooling investors’ funds in commodity pools, and investing in commodity futures and foreign currency exchange trading.  According to court documents, Cox and Whitney obtained and misappropriated more than $3.2 million in investor funds and fabricated account statements and tax forms to conceal their fraud. 

 According to court documents, Cox and Whitney falsely represented, among other things, that Integra’s managers had more than 30 years of combined market experience; that Integra paid dividends of two to five percent of the investor’s initial investment, which was derived from Integra’s trading profits; and investors could remove their principal investments within five days upon giving notice to Integra.  According to court documents, Cox and Whitney used the money invested by later investors to pay the monthly investment returns they had promised to earlier investors, to purchase real estate, to fund other business ventures and to purchase automobiles and other personal goods and services. 

 On March 21, 2011, Whitney pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  He was sentenced on Jan. 7, 2013, to 60 months in prison for his role in the scheme. 

  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Luke Marsh of the Criminal Division=s Fraud Section and Benjamin Bain-Creed and Kenny Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.  The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

This prosecution was done in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.

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Criminal Division
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