The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today said that the District Court for the Western District of Texas has entered a consent order against BareIt Media LLC and its owner Ryan Masten.

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The order includes permanent injunction, monetary sanctions, and equitable relief. As part of the order, the defendants are required to pay a $100,000 civil monetary penalty. They were also permanently barred from operating as commodity trading advisors (CTA) or associated persons (AP) of a CTA without registration with the CFTC, as mandated by the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations.

The order stems from litigation filed by the CFTC on September 2, 2020, against BareIt Media and Masten. The order states that BareIt Media operated as SignalPush from around May 1, 2013, through May 1, 2017.

Per the court documents, SignalPush offered customers the ability to obtain trade signals and automate binary options trading using those signals. During this period, BareIt Media was not registered as a CTA, and Masten was not registered as an AP of BareIt Media.

In 2020, the CFTC brought civil charges against BareIt Media’s SignalPush, along with several other defendants, for soliciting victims to trade binary options.

“The CFTC strongly urges the public to verify trader and company registrations with the CFTC before committing funds. If unregistered, a customer should be wary of providing funds to that company. A company’s registration status can be found using NFA BASIC,” the CFTC further states.

Also charged in the same case is Ryan Masten from Texas, and his company BareIt Media, aka SignalPush, as well as All Out Marketing Limited, Blue Moon Investments, Ltd., and Orlando Union Inc., each of these, is an offshore entity owned and controlled by one of the Cartu brothers.

In a response to the CFTC’s Consent Order, Commissioner Caroline D. Pham expressed her dissent and highlighted concerns over the change in interpretation of the definition of a “commodity trading advisor” (CTA) in the enforcement action. Her statement questions the commission’s decision to alter the CTA definition without proper explanation or allowing for public input.

Commissioner Pham pointed out that changes to the CTA definition can have significant implications for the industry, and thus, they should be thoroughly examined and discussed before implementation. She highlighted that previous instances of changing interpretations without proper analysis have caused disruptions in the industry and markets, and this pattern should be avoided.

One of the key issues Commissioner Pham raised is the potential inconsistency between the Masten Consent Order’s interpretation and the longstanding approach of distinguishing between signal providers and technology providers for CTA registration. She was concerned that the new stance could impose registration requirements on technology providers that do not originate trade signals, which may lead to confusion and disruptions.