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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Manager Of Commodities Fund Sentenced To 30 Months

SAN JOSE - Rodney Hatfield was sentenced late yesterday afternoon to 30 months in federal prison in connection with his role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

Hatfield pled guilty to the charge on January 30, 2013. According to the plea agreement, Hatfield admitted that he conspired with his co-defendant to obtain money from investors by means of materially false representations about the value of their investment accounts. Mr. Hatfield admitted that he defrauded members of his own Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Watsonville, California. As part of the fraud scheme, he solicited millions of dollars in investment money from his fellow congregants and others to invest in Landmark Trading Company, LLC (“Landmark”). This company was set up as a holding company for the purpose of trading in foreign currency exchange by Hatfield and his co-defendant.

Initially, Landmark did engage in some legitimate currency trades on behalf of its investors; however, the company quickly began to run a negative return on its trading activity. Rather than accurately report this negative trading activity to investors, Hatfield and his co-defendant distributed false reports to investors in e-mails that their trading accounts were profitable and increasing in value. While some investors did receive all or most of their principal back, Hatfield admitted his actions resulted in a net loss to investors of more than $1 million.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Edward J. Davila, United States District Court Judge, following a guilty plea on the first count of the indictment, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. Judge Davila also sentenced the defendant to three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. Judge Davila did not impose a fine in light of the defendant’s financial circumstances. However, Judge Davila set a hearing for November 8, 2013, to determine the amount of restitution as well as set a reporting date for Hatfield to begin serving his sentence.

Timothy J. Lucey is the Assistant United States Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Laurie Worthen. The prosecution is the result of a multi-year investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service. The United States Attorney’s Office also wishes to recognize the assistance of the Commodities Future Trading Commission and the United States Trustee for the Northern District of California.

(Hatfield indictment )

(Hatfield plea agreement )