CFTC charges Donald Wray Rodgers with $2 million Ponzi scheme

In March, a federal judge in Memphis sentenced Donald Wray Rodgers to more than four years in prison.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has sued Three Bridges Trading Fund, LLC, and its owner Donald Wray Rodgers for operating a Ponzi scheme.

The Tennessee-based firm solicited and accepted at least $2 million from pool participants to invest in a commodity pool, but much of the funds were misappropriated by the defendants, who attempted to conceal their fraudulent scheme by issuing false account and trading statements to pool participants, and misappropriated funds by paying some pool participants using funds from other pool participants. A typical Ponzi scheme.

$2 million from 50 clients

It was from approximately January 2022 to November 2022 that Rodgers fraudulently solicited customers by representing Three Bridges was a successful commodity pool and by making misrepresentations about his past trading history, according to the CFTC.

Three Bridges Trading Fund solicited and received at least $2 million from approximately 50 pool participants to trade futures contracts on their behalf, according to the records of the defendants, who also commingled pool funds with non-pool assets and directed pool participants to send money to Rodgers’ personal account.

Bank account records show Rodgers transferred money, including pool funds, from Three Bridges’ bank account to his personal trading account, where he placed trades in his own name. Additionally, Rodgers failed to receive all pool participants’ funds in the name of Three Bridges and failed to operate Three Bridges as a legal entity separate from himself.

51 months in federal prison

In March, a federal judge in Memphis sentenced Donald Wray Rodgers to more than four years in prison for running a fraudulent commodities investment scheme.

Rodgers doctored monthly performance statements to mimic fund growth; in reality, the fund was depreciating due to Rodgers’s bad trades. The fraud victims ran the gamut of income levels, from bank executives to landscapers. Rodgers’s deception was finally uncovered in November 2022 when victims made calls on their investments that Three Bridges Trading Fund did not have the funds to cover.

Rodgers pled guilty to wire fraud on December 18, 2023. On March 21, District Judge Thomas L. Parker sentenced Rodgers to 51 months in federal prison followed by one year of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.