Peter Kambolin Sentenced for Fraudulent Scheme in Cryptocurrency Futures Trading

Peter Cambolin, the is the former CEO of Systematic Alpha Management LLC (SAM). convicted, for his involvement in a fraudulent “cherry-picking” scheme involving cryptocurrency futures contracts.

In April 2023, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) accused Kambolin and SAM of running a scheme that involved allocating profitable cryptocurrency futures trades to their internal accounts while assigning losing or less profitable trades to their customers. This case highlights the increasing scrutiny by regulators on practices in the cryptocurrency trading world.

Kambolin, a 48-year-old citizen of the United States and Russia, pleaded guilty on October 11, 2023, to conspiracy to commit goods fraud. He was found to have fraudulently allocated profitable futures trades to his personal accounts while his investors suffered the losses. This abuse occurred between January 2019 and November 2021, a period during which Cambolin promoted his firm as a platform specializing in algorithmic trading strategies in futures contracts.

Misrepresentation to investors was a critical aspect of this case. Cambolin led his clients to believe that SAM was primarily focused on cryptocurrency trading and currency futures contracts. However, almost half of his trading activity was in stock index futures, a fact he hid from his investors. This fraud not only deprived investors of profitable trades, but also undermined their confidence in the commodity market.

The legal consequences of Cambolin’s actions were severe. He was sentenced to two years in prison followed by 18 months of house arrest and ordered to forfeit approximately $1.6 million. This case underscores the US Department of Justice’s commitment to pursuing abuses in financial markets, particularly those involving emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies.​​​​

This case is a stark reminder of the risks associated with the nascent and often volatile cryptocurrency market. It illustrates the importance of regulatory oversight in protecting investors from fraudulent schemes and maintaining the integrity of financial markets. The cherry-picking scheme carried out by Cambolin serves as a cautionary tale for both investors and operators in the cryptocurrency space.

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