Commodities Trader Gets 10 Years for $1.6M Investment Scam


• Defendant’s commodities trading registration was revoked by authorities in 1990
• Prosecutors say defendant has a history of fraud and violating court orders


A former commodity trading advisor from Southern California was sentenced June 4 to more than 10 years in federal prison for an investment fraud scheme that caused about $1.6 million in losses, prosecutors announced in a written statement.

Rawle Gerard Suite, who also goes by “Jerry Snead,” pleaded guilty about a year ago to four counts of wire fraud. He was accused of misleading investors regarding annual returns of various companies, and causing $1.6 million in losses over three and a half years.

The prosecution recommended a 108-month sentence for Suite, which it said would deter him from future crimes better than other forms of discipline he’s received in the past. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission revoked his license in 1990, and the California Department of Corporations obtained a $2.5 million judgment against him in 2012, according to the government.

‘History of Fraud’

“Though this is defendant’s first criminal case for investment fraud, it is clear that defendant has a history of fraud and violating court orders,” officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California wrote in a sentencing memorandum last year. “To protect the public and deter defendant’s fraudulent behavior, a low-end sentence of 108 months is warranted.”

Judge James V. Selna, ultimately handed down a sentence of 121 months, exceeding the government’s recommendation.

H. Dean Steward, San Clemente, Calif., who represented Suite, told Bloomberg Law that Suite “intends” to appeal. “Mr. Suite deeply regrets the harm he caused, but feels the sentence was overly harsh,” Steward said in an email.

The case is United States v. Suite, C.D. Cal., No. 8:16-cr-00069, sentencing 6/4/18

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bloomberglaw.com