On October 3, 2018, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission won an important and landmark trial against Greg Gramalegui and his company: Emini Trading School.
The ruling, by Judge Robert Blackburn of the US District Court of Colorado, declared that Greg Gramalegui was a serial fraudster and fined Greg Gramalegui more than $1.9 million dollars for solicitation fraud and failing to register as a CTA or Commodity Trading Advisor.
Many readers are probably familiar with Emini Trading School, as we published a highly negative review way back in 2014. The owner of Emini Trading School did not take too kindly to the highly negative review, as well as our summary that Emini Trading School was likely a fraud.
Greg Gramalegui of Emini Trading School is a highly litigious individual, and TradingSchools.Org cannot comment on any pending, active, potential, or disposed litigation concerning our original review.
But this follow-up article serves as confirmation that the original review of Emini Trading School and Greg Gramalegui was “the best obtainable version of the truth.”
What was Emini Trading School selling?
Like many of the companies that TradingSchools.Org reviews, the Emini Trading School was selling a live trading room at $300 per month, a batch of ‘magical’ trading indicators at $250 per month, as well as One-on-One mentoring at $6,995.
When TradingSchools.Org originally contacted Emini Trading School, the proprietor identified himself as Greg Lee. Little did we know, Greg Lee was just the latest in a series of fake names and websites that promised novice traders a life of ‘unlimited shrimp cocktails, bikini babes, and lifestyle freedom.’
We have all seen this scam before. The victim is told to simply purchase the magical trading method, log into the live trading room, and then copy and paste the trades of the moderator. Financial freedom awaits at the end of the magical rainbow.
Of course, live trading is never that easy. Unfortunately, nearly everyone that falls for these sorts of investment scams leans too heavily on hypothetical performance summaries, hoping that their results will be similar to those fantasies posted on websites.
These hypothetical performance summaries, as posted by Greg Gramalegui and his various websites were nothing more than performance puffery and magical rainbows. Little mention of losses.
The TRUTH about Greg Gramalegui
Greg Gramalegui started his career as a fraudulent trading educator back in the late 1990’s.
During this era, he marketed and promoted his advertisements on the back pages of Stocks and Commodities and Futures Magazine. The name of his company was Trend Reflection, and according to Greg, a person could reasonably expect to earn $100k per year as a ‘professional futures trader.’
In fact, as part of his advertisements, he claimed that he had taught his mother to also become a full-time futures trader.
Futures trading is easy. If I can teach my mother to be successfull, then I can also teach you!”
However, all his supposed performance claims were just hypothetical performance puffery and Greg Gramalegui never earned a profit trading futures.
The CFTC, or Commodities Futures Trading Commission finally stepped in and investigated. The madness finally ended on July 12, 2001 when the CFTC banished Greg Gramalegui from associating with any FINRA registered company.
Most persons would have promptly exited the Futures trading educational industry. The sting of a CFTC investigation would have provided enough discouragement. But not Greg.
The next series of FRAUDS
Greg never paid his $10k fine. And he never exited the Futures trading educational industry. Instead, he simply created new names and websites in which to promote his ongoing fraud.
Some of these companies include: Tradology, Trader4X, EminiTV, and Ask Market Profile.
A review of these now defunct websites on Archive.Org reveals familiar ‘song and dance’ trading education, magical trading indicators, and supposed help becoming a full-time Futures trader.
In about 2008, Greg Gramalegui hit the ‘mega-jackpot’ of fraud.
Ninja Trader and Emini Trading School
In the past several years, TradingSchools.Org has exposed dozens of companies that were promoted by Ninja Trader as legitimate trading educators — but later turned out to be nothing more than fraudulent marketers.
Emini Trading School was hyper promoted by Ninja Trader as a place where traders could learn to trade the Emini Futures contract. In fact, the CFTC investigation revealed that Ninja Trader mass marketed, provided support, and hosted webinars that encouraged small investors to trust Greg Gramalegui of Emini Trading School.
Both sides of the fraudulent coin benefited greatly. Greg promoted NinjaTrader — both their trading platform and brokerage services as a trusted and reliable Futures trading company and in return, Ninja Trader exposed their massive customer database to the financial murderer that helped fleece their accounts.
The CFTC investigated and interviewed several of the actual customers of Emini Trading School and discovered that all investigated customers lost a majority of their Futures trading accounts.
The CFTC also audited the personal performance records of Greg Gramalegui and discovered that Greg Gramalegui never earned a penny trading Futures contracts. In fact, his only proficiency was being a consistent loser.
Ninja Trader was the longtime Futures broker of Greg Gramalegui. They must have known that Greg was a fraud. How could they not? They were responsible for the oversight of his Futures trading account.
How much money was scammed from consumers? During the Ninja Trader promotional period, Greg managed nearly $500k in total sales volume.
However, in speaking with NFA investigators, the total sales volume of his fraudulent promotional activity is probably in the millions of dollars. In fact, Greg lives in the tony neighborhood of Vail, Colorado and recent estimates put the value of his home at nearly $2 million dollars.
As per public records: 2614 Larkspur Lane, Vail CO 81657
Yet another ‘Black Eye’ for Ninja Trader
A question that readers often ask, and I often wonder…how culpable is Ninja Trader?
In my opinion, Ninja Trader should have also been fined and their Futures brokerage licensing revoked.
Some relevant questions that investors should ask, regarding Ninja Trader:
- Why did Ninja Trader give this serial fraudster such vigorous promotion?
- Does Ninja Trader really care about the customer?
- What is the vetting process to become a ‘trusted’ Ninja Trader educator?
If you have a Futures trading account with Ninja Trader Brokerage, can you really trust this company?
Do you really want to reward a company that continues to promote what appears to be a plethora of potentially fraudulent trading educators?
Vote with your feet.
The phony defense: I am just a trading educator!
Finally, what I find most interesting about the public trial of Greg Gramalagui of Emini Trading School, is that he vigorously declared that he was exempt from being registered as a CTA or Commodity Trading Advisor.
Many Futures trading educators attempt to hide behind a paper thin exemption regarding whom must actually be registered with the CFTC as a Commodity Trading Advisor. In fact, during the trial of Greg Gramalagui, he repeatedly stated: “my products and services are educational in nature and I am just a teacher.” And, “I just help students interpret the trading methods.”
However, Judge Blackburn wasn’t swallowing Greg’s bullshit. And in his opinion, Judge Blackburn ruled that since Emini Trading School had publicly marketed his educational products to more than 15 persons during the prior 12 month period, he was required to register as a CTA or Commodity Trading Advisory.
Greg then argued that since his advice was not tailored to any customers particular trading account, he should also be exempted from CTA registration. Greg also provided expensive expert testimony from noted author David Aronson, in which Aronson testified that the Emini Trading School methods and techniques were not actual trading advice. That Emini Trading School was simply giving interpretations of the trading indicators, not giving actual trading advice.
Once again, Judge Blackburn wasn’t swallowing Greg’s bullshit ‘expert testimony’ and tossed the novel ‘educational’ argument as ridiculous and laughable.
The way forward
In my nearly 5 years of writing about Futures trading educators and Futures trading educational companies, I have witnessed dozens of companies claim the narrow CTA registration loophole.
It is apparent to me that the CFTC is entering a new era of enforcement activity. No longer are they allowing trading educators to simply ‘copy and paste’ hypothetical disclosure materials. They are now aggressively enforcing the 15-person rule limit and are following leads on even the most minor infractions.
If you are operating any sort of business that offers advice or guidance regarding Futures trading, and you have a public facing website, then you had better comply with the registration requirements. Anything less, you are a target.
Hardly ever do I give Donald Trump credit for anything good, but this new batch of CFTC Commissioners have been an aggressive crew. They have been moving fast and hard. And there has been a definite bias towards protecting ‘the little guy.’ Definitely not what I was expecting.
Wrapping things up
Another long article. Thanks for making it this far.
With this mind, lets all work together to clean up the Futures trading educational industry. Never have I recommended that random people file complaints with the CFTC, but I think its ‘high-time’ we all start taking action together. The CFTC seems to be ‘in the mood’ and so let’s be good citizens and start taking action together.
Together we are strong. As a block, we cannot be ignored. The next Futures trading educational company that crosses your computer screen…take action and file a quick complaint.
And who knows, your complaint might trigger an action, which could lead to big payday through the Whistleblower program…https://www.whistleblower.gov/
As per my legal counsel, I am required to disclose all forms of compensation. TradingSchools.Org may have received compensation or is awaiting compensation, through this program.
Thanks for reading.