SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Binary Options Affiliate Marketer and Family Members Sharing in His Ill-Gotten Gains

Litigation Release No. 25312 / January 21, 2022

SEC v. Ronald C. Montano, et al., Case No. 6:18-cv-01606-GAP-GJK (Middle District of Florida) (filed September 27, 2018 and amended March 11, 2019).

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the entry of a final consent judgment against Ronald C. Montano and Relief Defendants Romeo Montano, Elma Montano, Denise Montano, and REM Florida Properties, LLC to resolve charges related to fraudulently inducing investments in binary options.

The SEC's amended complaint, filed on March 11, 2019 in the Middle District of Florida, alleged that between September 2013 and December 2016, Ronald C. Montano launched or participated in affiliate marketing campaigns designed to induce investors to open and fund trading accounts with unregistered and unscrupulous online brokers peddling unregistered binary options. The amended complaint further alleged that these marketing campaigns tricked investors into opening trading accounts using email and web-based video advertisements promising investors would get rich trading binary options using software that did not actually exist. Ronald C. Montano allegedly received a payment from the online brokers for each investor opening and funding a trading account after viewing his misleading affiliate marketing campaigns. Finally, the amended complaint alleged that Ronald C. Montano shared his profits from these activities with family members, which it named as Relief Defendants.

Without admitting or denying the allegations of the amended complaint, Ronald C. Montano consented to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from violating Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The final judgment includes a conduct-based injunction that permanently enjoins Ronald C. Montano from directly or indirectly participating in the marketing, offer, or sale of securities over the Internet, and also orders him to pay $1 million in combined disgorgement and prejudgment interest and a civil penalty of $1.35 million. In addition, without admitting or denying the allegations of the amended complaint, the Relief Defendants consented to the entry of the final judgment ordering them jointly and severally liable for $900,000 of the combined $1 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest that Ronald C. Montano is obligated to pay.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Jason Anthony and Deborah Maisel, with supervision from Jennifer Leete and Paul Pashkoff. The litigation was conducted by Kenneth Donnelly, Samantha Williams, and David Mendel, with supervision from Fred Block.