Long Leaf Futures and Options Educator Busted for FRAUD.

On June 29th, 2020, The CFTC or Commodity Futures Trading Commission put the “pimp hand” on Long Leaf Futures Trading Group and their “Time Means Money” options educational training program.

In short, the CFTC is alleging a massive fraud.

All told, the scam netted $4.1 million in the form of selling options trading systems and earned commissions for the brokerage.

In addition to being skinned alive for the “systems, education, and commissions” the victims additionally lost $6.1 million in actual investment losses.

According to the NFA and the CFTC, the total losses were, at a minimum, $10.2 million.

Individual defendents include James Donelson, Andrew Nelson, Scott Gecas, and James Leeney — all from Illinois. Additional defendants include Jeremey Ruth of Austin, Texas and Timothy Evans of Tulum, Mexico.

Has anyone ever been to Tulum, Mexico? To call it a shitty little town with one bad taco stand and two stray dogs is not an exaggeration. The place rests in the shadow of the Mayan pyramids and contains maybe 4 or 5 shacks with questionable sewage.

I have been to Tulum, Mexico (twice). The pyramids are great — the town is not. And the person that supposedly lives in the shadow of the Mayan pyramids is none other than the “world-famous trader” Timothy Evans.

Timmy claims to be all sorts of things — Internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, investment manager to “the stars,” purveyor of fine wines and arts, a generous benefactor to multiple charities, drives a shiny sports car, and of course, connoisseur of unlimited shrimp cocktail.

But more on that later…

According to the CFTC…

According to the CFTC complaint, the perennial fucktards involved with this scheme were either actively registered with the NFA or had been recently banned and fined for not obtaining the proper registration with the CFTC.

In the complaint filed by the CFTC and the NFA, the scheme was pretty simple and straightforward. The defendants where introducing Futures brokers and operated a seemingly straightlaced “Options Education” website at TimeMeansMoney.com.

At some point during the supposed educational process, the victims were then steered to an actual Futures brokerage named LongLeafTrading.com. Defendants either controlled or had a controlling interest in both the educational website and the Futures brokerage.

Both websites are now defunct. However, using Archive.Org, we were able to piece together the puzzle of “HOW” the scam actually worked.

Additionally, two of the victims provided additional information and context on how they were duped into losing their money.

The CFTC usually provides very mundane references of fact in their complaints. After writing hundreds of these sorts of articles, I usually have to break down the allegations into different pieces, and then tease out the motivation and mechanics of how the fraud was technically pulled off.

The good stuff is always just below the surface. Lets continue.

Interview of victim A

Victim ‘A’ wished to be remain anonymous. She is also very embarrassed about the situation. Losing her retirement has been extremely painful. However, she was kind enough to get on the phone and purge her memory of the pain.

According to her, she was an avid watcher of financial television. In particular, Bloomberg News and CNBC. Every afternoon, she would turn on Bloomberg or CNBC for a recap of the day’s events and perhaps discover a new investment idea.

One of the people that she was particularly impressed was Tim Evans. He was on TV nearly every day for three years. The Bloomberg show would trot out Tim and he would pontificate on the “how and why” markets were moving. The CNBC show, in which Timmy would regularly appear, would focus on oil, gold, and commodities.

As she described, Tim was very handsome with boyish good looks. And he looked very trustworthy. His hair was tidy and his suit was crisp. He sounded very authoritative, and when he smiled….it made her heart swoon.

So handsome!

As she watched the TV shows, captioned on the bottom of the screen was the company named: Long Leaf Trading. She became curious and she sought out the wise wisdom of this handsome man. And so, she sheepishly went onto “the Google” and searched for “Long Leaf Trading.”

Her search returned the website LongLeafTrading.com, which was a Futures brokerage. And so, mustering her courage, and knowing absolutely nothing about Futures trading…she called and asked for the handsome Tim Evans.

To her surprise, Mr. Evans picked up the phone and was even more charming in person than on the television. She felt she was lucky to be speaking with an actual TV celebrity that created videos on the floor of the Options exchange.

The charming Timothy Evans

The conversation started warm and seemed to get warmer and borderline flirtatious. He asked how much money she had in her retirement account, which consisted of dividend-paying stocks.

Next, he told her that Options trading was a much better and safer investment than dividend-paying stocks, which were yielding about 4% each year.

After getting her all warm and buttery, he abruptly told her that he could not talk about potential returns because the brokerage has rules regarding making promises on expected returns.

However, he then recommended that she visit the “options education” website that was located at TimeMeansMoney.Com and she could speak with an “educational counselor” and that he would be able to give her more specifics on what sort of returns she could expect.

She complied. And then she picked up the phone and called into what sounded like the very same office. However, instead of speaking to Timothy Evans, she spoke with another smooth sounding person that wanted to schedule a live webinar.

As he explained, the webinar would supposedly teach her about the “Premium Strategies Collection” and educate her on how the Options trading program worked.

The live webinar

Later that day, she attended the webinar with her “educational counselor.” He presented himself as a “professional options trader” and had spent his entire career on the floors of the exchanges in Chicago.

The person explained that Options were much less risky than stocks and that their “proprietary systems” would achieve — at least — a win rate of 85%.

Additionally, he promised that she could resonably expect to earn 10% to 25% each and every month by collecting options premium. That this was essentially risk-free, and that the close proximity to the Options exchange gave the firm “the advantage of information and speed.”

She was impressed. It was true, that on the television, she could see Timothy Evans on the floor of the Options exchange. And this appearance seemed very credable.

Additionally, the “educational counselor” assured her that since Timothy Evans was always on the television, that Bloomberg and CNBC have already properly vetted him, and this served as proof of his successful ability to trade options.

All of this sounded very wonderful. The “educational counselor” presented spreadsheets of supposed trades and this served as undeniable proof that Mr. Evans trades were real.

However, she thought it strange that the “educational counselor” additionally presented a visual disclaimer that also stated that “all performance is hypothetical.” She asked about that, he replied “Oh, dont worry about that. That is just something that the regulators force everyone into displaying.

He assured her, “all my clients are making money.” and “some I made millionaires.” He presented pictures and written testimonies of supposedly happy people that described their lives as changed for the better. All because of the supposedly amazing Timothy Evans and his “Time Means Money” options trading program.

When she balked at having to sell her entire stock portfolio to open a new trading account at Long Leaf Futures, the “educational counselor” gave her the additional choice of simply purchasing the system for $4,995. And in addition, she was also given the opportunity for “one on one coaching” with a “professional options trader.”

This coaching would cost an additional $6,995 but she would have to make a decision quickly. As he described, the coaching is extremely limited and only on a first-come, first-serve basis.

It all sounded so wonderful. She thought, “gee, I can just purchase the coaching and learn this stuff myself” and “investing $7k for an education that can lead to a new career seemed very reasonable.”

Additionally, the thought of working “more closely” with the handsome Timmy the Options trader gave her a strange “tingle.” You get the picture.

The hopes and dreams

Anyway, Victim ‘A’ had been contemplating retiring in another five years, but then she began to wildly fantasize that the Options education could possibly put her into early retirement, and most importantly — with a brand new source of income.

Next, she calculated that if she could get a return of 5% per month, and not the 10-25% as promised, then within two years, her $50k nest egg would become about $160k. And with that amount, she could live off the monthly interest earned from her trading.

Its all sounded so wonderful. She even fantasized about what her family and friends would think when they discovered her newfound skill of being a full time Options trader.

After thinking about it for a few days, she decided that she would keep her current job for two more years, but liquidate her stock portfolio and then send her money to Timothy Evans to trade on her behalf, at Long Leaf Trading.

She decided it best to hold off purchasing the “personal coaching” and “trading systems” and for the time being — let Long Leaf Trading manage her money.

The first six months…

After opening her account, and being yet again buttered up by Mr. Evans, which included an invitation to have dinner with him in Chicago to meet a “real trader” she started to feel a little strange.

The first thing she thought strange was that Mr. Evans had her fill out three separate disclosures regarding hypothetical performance. Each time, he told her is was just a formality and required by the exchange. But it stuck her as strange. Yet she trusted him

After the first month, her account immediately dropped from $50k to $45k. But Mr. Evans assured her that this was “actually a good thing” because it signaled that his trading methodology always came back stronger.

He explained that “I used to be a prop trader” and “this was absolutely normal.” She had no idea what a “prop trader” was, nor did it feel “absolutely normal.”

After three months, her account dropped down to $25k and she started to feel sick to her stomach. Mr. Evans told her yet again that draw downs were normal and she had to “stick with it.”

But at this point, she started to feel that something was amiss. The TimeIsMoney.Com website was keeping a log of trades, but this log did not accurately reflect was she was experiencing in her account.

In particular, the TimeIsMoney.Com website did not calculate slippage and commission for each and every trade. And since she was trading spreads, (which she still does not understand) this amounted to a tremendous amount of money.

When she complained, she was told that the performance summaries on the website were simply “Hypothetical Performance” and a best-case scenario and that each trader’s performance was different because of a variety of factors.

Finally, after six months — she was wiped out. Her savings were gone. Her hopes and dreams were dashed. She felt she had been defrauded.

Timothy Evans then refused to get on the phone with her. And this made her mad. Really mad. As they say, “Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.”

Not knowing where to turn next, she then started to research how to file a complaint. But who to contact?

The complaint

Eventually, she discovered that the correct venue to file a complaint would be the CFTC and the NFA. She filed a complaint at the NFA or National Futures Association here:

https://www.nfa.futures.org/complaintnet/complaint.aspx

And then she filed a complaint with the CFTC or Commodity Futures Trading Commission here:

https://forms.cftc.gov/Forms/TipsAndComplaints.aspx

Several weeks later, she was contacted by an investigator.

ESP or Electronic Surveillance Program

Most people are not aware but both the CFTC and the NFA have separate investigative units that investigate potential fraud in the Futures, and derivatives markets.

This includes all derivatives. Whether they be stock options, futures options, Forex, or any derivative or swap.

The NFA were certainly interested in the story of Customer A and they sent their ESP or Electronic Surveillance Team to pose as prospective customers of this so-called Options educational company and Options brokerage.

A few months passed, and mysteriously, the handsome Timothy Evans disappeared from the company. He was replaced by a less handsomer version named Scott Gecas.

However, just like Mr. Evans had formally appeared on Bloomberg and CNBC, he was replaced by Mr. Gecas. But it was the same old song and dance. Mr. Gecas would appear on the TV and give his worthless advice on how to trade options.

You can find more of the videos on the YouTube channel that Long Leaf Trading used to store each TV appearance here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/LongLeafTradingGroupIncChicago/videos

At about the same time, Customer A was curious what happened to the handsome man known as Timothy Evans. The company replied that Mr. Evans was now living in Tulum Mexico, and he had gone on a spiritual journey and some other bullshit.

Considering that Tulum is actually just a tourist destination for people visiting Cancun, Mexico…she figured that Mr. Evans was probably holed up in Cancun, sipping pina colada’s on her dime.

It really made her mad thinking that Tim Evans was probably dancing at some nightclub, bullshitting woman, looking for his next payday. After all, he was so charming.

The big reveal

Finally, on June 29 2020, the CFTC put the hammer on two of the co-conspirators: Scott Gecas and James Leeney. Both represented the most recent owners of the Options educational website and the brokerage.

Scott Gecas agreed to pay $150k and James Leeney agreed to pay $350k. Both admitted to the fraud. Additionally, neither will be allowed to open any trading accounts with a FINRA or NFA member firm.

As far as Timmy Evans, he is still hiding in Tulum, Mexico and his judgment awaits. I imagine it won’t be pretty.

The problem with financial media

Sometimes I really wonder about Bloomberg, CNBC, and financial television in general. Dont they ever vet any of these colorful characters? I mean, is it really that hard?

And, when these shady fuckers get caught, why isn’t Bloomberg and CNBC broadcasting a story on the fucktards that just got busted?

Part of the problem is that the financial media must accommodate the advertisers, which is primarily the brokerages and related services. Nobody wants to talk about, or write about these scams.

Instead, they end up as some tiny press release at the CFTC. Nobody ever sees it. It gets quietly swept under the rug. These financial media shows just go out and find a newer pretty face to promote, and the cycle repeats itself over and over.

Another problem is commercialization of these sorts of articles. The major news outlets would never pay a journalist to expose these sorts of frauds. Instead, its left up to citizen journalists to craft and create these stories…with too often, earth shattering personal consequences — like lawsuits and threats of physical violence.

Wrapping things up

Thanks for making it this far. This was a long read that finished without much of a bang.

There are two important takeaways from this article:

  1. Financial media is bullshit. They vet nobody.
  2. Hypothetical performance is the segway to fraud.

Once again, thanks for reading. And I would love to know your thoughts and read your comments below.

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John Walters
John Walters
1 month ago

you have portrayed the story very well . It is refreshing to hear the detailed truth of a scame. Well done. Great investigative Journalism. Scammers are a plenty another such scammer is http://www.IvyTrusts.com stay away peoples.

Top Long Leaf Broker
Top Long Leaf Broker
1 month ago

This a poor journalism. 95% of this story is fabricated. Long Leaf Trading Group did not sell nor provide education. Nor did a Time Means Money. Nor did Tim Evans ever speak with a client. Not even once. Nor did Tim Evans ever speak about option stratergies on TV. He only answered questions about price action in commodity markets. Tim Evans sold the company to James Donelson (he is an idiot) and moved to Tulum with his wife and three children. How do I know all of this?….I worked at Long Leaf Trading Group.

Top Long Leaf Broker
Top Long Leaf Broker
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

I did read the complaint. You obviously did not or don’t understand futures options. Long Leaf did not sign a CFTC report stating they cannot refute the allegations from the complaint. 1. That process does not exist in the American justice system. 2. That’s why there is a complaint from the CFTC. Long Leaf thinks they did nothing wrong and The CFTC disagrees and it will go to a civil trial for a jury to decide.

As far as your consumer…that’s 100% bullshit. You don’t have a consumer that went on the record with you. There was only one female client of the Times Means Money program and I’m intimately familiar with the process she went through in order to open an account and I know her directly. Your narrative of what happend is simply fiction.

The entire Long Leaf position is not to give money to trading schools for education since it’s been proven that over 90% of people who do and enter into the live markets lose there money.

You obviously have an agenda you are trying to push with this article. Just come clean Emmett. You don’t want to end up in a court room over your poor journalism and lack of integrity.

Top Long Leaf Broker
Top Long Leaf Broker
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmett Moore

Dumbo…James Leeney and Scott Gecas are not the owners of Long Leaf Trading Group. They were APs. Tim Evans was the owner and he sold it to an idiot named James Donelson. Neither of them have settled with the CFTC and that’s why the CFTC filed a complaint. A jury will hear the case and decide.

Customer A, whom you claim you have interviewed personally (which I know you haven’t)…no response on that? Defend yourself. Don’t change topics.

dtchurn
dtchurn
1 month ago

Wow, “Top Long Leaf Broker”, who I assume is Evans as Emmett mentioned, (what’s the matter scumbag? your pal,”idiot” Donelson didn’t manage the getaway and cleanup in the states as well as you hoped to protect your absconding with the 4.4 million windfall in to Mexico? )
, what a way to nitpick with faux critique attempting to twist the truth, when the overwhelming gist of Long Leaf is a massive fraud case and fraud damages with several complaints reported to the CFTC. Emmett’s links to Gecas and Leeney seem to be their specific cftc orders. Just doing a simple lookup on cftc.gov brings up the overall charges press release, ->( https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8190-20 ) , and the complaint et al. which includes everyone mentioned of Long Leaf. ->( https://www.cftc.gov/media/4106/enflongleafcomplaint062620/download ). Some quotes as follows which shows Emmett is summarily right about this serious fraud case in the article:

“..together with Long Leaf, Evans, and Donelson, “LLT Defendants”), engaged
in a scheme to defraud customers in connection with options on futures contracts traded on
designated contract markets, in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (“Act”), 7 U.S.C §§ 1-
26 (2018), and accompanying Commission Regulations (“Regulations”), 17 C.F.R. pts. 1-190
(2019).”

“The LLT Defendants knowingly made numerous false and misleading statements
of material fact to retail customers about the success of Long Leaf’s “Time Means Money”
Case: 1:20-cv-03758 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/26/20 Page 1 of 33 PageID #:1
2
(“TMM”) options trading program. The LLT Defendants touted the success of the TMM
program, claiming that it resulted in profits for customers.
3. In reality, substantially all of Long Leaf’s customers lost money trading pursuant
to the program. The LLT Defendants were aware of this from customer account statements they
received, as well as from customers complaining about losses in their accounts. The LLT
Defendants nonetheless knowingly or recklessly failed to disclose to, or deliberately withheld
from, customers and prospective customers the material fact that substantially all customers lost
money trading under the program.”

“4. The LLT Defendants also knowingly or recklessly MISLED CUSTOMERS as to the
status of their accounts, claiming that customers made money WHEN IN FACT THEY LOST MONEY.
5. During the Relevant Period, Long Leaf’s more than FOUR HUNDRED CUSTOMERS LOST
approximately $6.1 MILLION trading pursuant to Long Leaf’s recommendations. These
recommendations were designed primarily to generate commissions for Long Leaf.
6. Long Leaf made more than $4.4 MILLION IN COMMISSIONS FROM its trade
recommendations. THESE COMMISSIONS ACCOUNTED FOR MORE THAN SEVENTY PERCENT OF CUSTOMER LOSSES.
7. As set forth in greater detail below, the LLT Defendants’ conduct VIOLATES NUMEROUS ANTI-FRAUD PROVISIONS in the Act and Regulations, including..”

Much more in the CFTC complaint. So it’s apparent there were several complaints probably similar to the exhibit A lady customer victim. We don’t know about options or futures on options? Making us all laugh. The scammers always assuming the reading audience of tradingschools are newbs and clueless. When a large segment of us are very jaded and experienced as well as having seen plenty of past shamshows and and many of their myriad tricks on how they operate. And yes, plenty of charges sought to be labeled at Evans who was running Long Leaf almost ten years and is sought to be charged similarly to Donelson.

“As such, Evans controlled Long Leaf during that period. Evans did not act in good faith
with respect to, and knowingly induced, directly or indirectly, the acts and omissions constituting
Long Leaf’s violations of the Act and Regulations. Accordingly, Evans is liable for Long Leaf’s
violations of the Act and Regulations committed during the period of at least June 2015 through
December 2017, pursuant to Section 13(b) of the Act, 7 U.S.C. § 13c(b) (2018).” “C. Find that Defendant Timothy M. Evans violated 7 U.S.C. §§ 6c(b), 6k(1), 6m(1),
and 6o, and 17 C.F.R. §§ 4.31(a), (b), 4.36(d)(1), 4.41(a), 33.3(b)(2), and 33.10.”

So putting it out there so no one reading misses the facts. This scam was basically a scummy broker recommending or running multi-legged options trades for client victims that were mostly losers and devastated up to 400 customers’ accounts to the tune of $6.1 million in losses, while they collected the commissions while also doing shamshow segments unvetted on financial news tv. I hope the FBI get involved, so Evans and others holed up in Mexico can be extradited officially, a symbolic “tar and feathering” process for the angry clients who sent in all those complaints. (A sidenote. Options plays are dangerous with more risk factors and dimensions. Most all “options schools” or even tasty are not worth any newbs time imo, and I abhor options. They don’t even trade live, and often do a shamshow sim account pretending to be setting up big options “strategy” trades. Better to trade just straight futures or stocks for retailers.)

Rick R
Rick R
2 months ago

All Mainstream media news are up for the highest bidder especially the TV stations.

Nadina S
Nadina S
2 months ago

Just emailed Sky News about this:

” People have fallen victim to this fraud because they thought Gecas was legitimate trader as he appeared on television. You did not check if he was a real trader or a fraudster. You gave him advertising opportunity without checking anything about him.
Would you interview someone who may be a paedophile without checking him first?
Will you apologize? Or are you scum like the people you let on your program? ”

It is probably a waste of time but it makes me feel better.

Rufusa
Rufusa
2 months ago

Your writing/storytelling makes any article very interesting to the point that I forget that the read is lengthy.

I understand Victim A’s motivation. The only difference between me and her is timing. Luckily, I took the time to educate myself about the markets, which caused me to sustain far less damage (i.e., most of the education I purchased was rehashed concepts I could find online for free, or was straight BS).

Luckily, I didn’t pay full price for many of the videos I purchased.

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