A federal judge in New York on Tuesday ruled that a futures broker accused of manipulating wheat futures prices engaged in fictitious sales in 2009.

 

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon of Manhattan federal court said that there was "absolutely no dispute" that Eric Moncada, who worked for trading firms BES Capital LLC and Serdika LLC in New York, was engaging in fictitious sales.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Moncada, BES and Serdika in 2012 for attempting to manipulate wheat futures prices by electronically entering and immediately cancelling orders that they did not intend to fill.

Moncada entered and canceled within seconds numerous orders for 200 or more wheat contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade, the regulator said in its complaint. Moncada attempted to create a misleading impression of increasing liquidity to move prices upward and downward at different times, according to the complaint, which seeks monetary fines from Moncada.

In March, McMahon entered default judgments against BES and Serdika, which shared offices and ownership and had ceased trading by the time of the complaint.

In Tuesday's order, McMahon set a trial on Nov. 17 to address attempted market manipulation claims against Moncada, despite agreeing with the CFTC "that the most compelling inference one might draw from the trading records is that Moncada was indeed trying to manipulate the market."

McMahon will preside over the trial without a jury. It should take no more than two days, she said in the ruling.

Moncada's lawyer and CME Group Inc, owner of the Chicago Board of Trade, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.