|INVESTTECH TIMELINE AND EVENTS: Account #9752
I first bought Fapturbo on 01/19/09. Fapturbo is an automated trading robot that trades Forex pairs, according to proprietary settings. Also known as an "EA" (Expert Advisor), Fapturbo works by going in and out of trades automatically, which means one has to have a computer on all the time or hire a service to do this for you, such as VPS (Virtual Private Server). I kept a computer on 24/5, thus allowing Fapturbo to trade.
My first broker was a bit slow in executing trades and had larger margins than Fapturbo needed. One of the tech's at Fapturbo suggested Investtechfx.com (ITFX) because they had smaller spreads and five-figure pips. This allowed Fapturbo to "scalp" more trades with less spreads, thus increasing the odds of profit/trade.
I contacted Investtech in May, 2009, and sent them a total of six deposits, in the following amounts, on the following dates:
05/29/09 $3,000 via wire transfer from Pacific Western Bank
08/15/09 $1,400 via PayPal
08/20/09 $3,000 via wire transfer from Pacific Western Bank
06/18/10 $4,000 via Pacific Western Bank
01/08/10 $10,000 via wire transfer from Scottrade (Stock Broker)
08/18/10 $3,000 via wire transfer from Pacific Western Bank
Thus, the total deposits were $24.400. (I am looking for another possible deposit of $???, for which I cannot find the paperwork. Investtech indicated my total deposits were over 25K.)
To Investtech's credit, for some of the deposits, they credited my account 10% as a deposit bonus. They did not do this for every deposit and I do not have a personal record of how much they gave me, only that it occurred sometimes and not for more than ten percent (See below for a listing of these bonuses based on data sent by Investtech). I used these bonuses to trade, generating Investtech commissions on thousands of trades over 14 months. (I saw in one of the data sheets that I had generated over 52K in commissions for Investtech.)
I downloaded the trading platform, MT4, which Investtech provided and then installed Fapturbo successfully. Thus began my trading experience in May 2009 with Investtech.
Complaint #1: Investechfx.com recruited me as a new USA trader when they were not registed with CFTC or NFA.
Investtech was very enthusiastic about me opening a trading account with them. As mentioned above, they offered bonus incentives and fully supported the use of EA's. In my case, Investtech claimed to have ".hundreds of clients all over the world who successfully use Fapturbo." Investtech was also helpful in providing tech support, initially, but over the next fourteen months, provided less and less. Ultimately, they were very hard to reach and did not return email inquiries, sometimes for weeks. Many times I had technical difficulties with the software and called for help. Instead of talking with tech support, I usually reached their receptionist, whose sole technical knowledge seemed to be reflected in the regularly repeated statements, "Turn off your computer and re-boot." After some time, I usually did receive emails from investtech with instructions, mostly that my account had been reset and that I should try the software again. That usually solved my
My account grew, all the way up to over $42,000 (equity), then shrank, all the way down to about $19,000 (equity), then grew again back up to $37,200+ (equity). This occurred over eight or more months. This $37,200+ was my "equity;" that is, after closing all trades, even those that were losing money, I would have as a remaining balance, $37,200+ in my account. If my existing trades resolved in my favor, my equity would have been considerably higher. This was my understanding of how the software presented my financial data from the beginning, which was confirmed numerous times by Investtech staff via telephone. I traded about 10-to-15+ trades per day with the robot, on average, and another 5-10 per day on my own, using chart analysis. Almost all of the robot trades closed the same day as they were initiated. The equity value of my account produced many financial "ups and downs" over many months. However, in any given week the market did not move enough for
any major loss, especially since my positions were not large, nor numerous at the end of any given day. In any given week, my balance would be up or down by only about $1,200. Any significant move, as noted above, would be over months and months, as has been the case through my present dispute.
Complaint #2: Investtech would not send me any proceeds out of my account.
Around June 2011, I called Investtech and requested that they send me $5,000 from my account to cover family medical expenses. At the time my equity balance was about six times that amount. They did not return my call for about two weeks. I emailed the request, but got a telephone call back from a gentleman with a heavy accent, stating I could not withdraw money. (I have reviewed my notes and cannot find his name, but from memory, I believe his name is "Alan.") He stated I had been put in "The VIP Club" and that I could not withdraw money for one year from when I had achieved a balance of $25,000 or more. He stated I could withdraw money in August 2011. I had never heard of this, a broker not allowing an investor to withdraw his own money. This investtech representative stated that these terms were on the website. I never found this on the website. He told me to just "keep trading." I felt as if my account had been hijacked, but since I could not get
any money out and I was profiting, I continued trading.
Complaint #3: Investtech sent me faulty upgrades that disabled the trading software for both manual and robot trades. Investtech was unable to resolve the technical issues created by these upgrades.
In May-June of 2011, Investtech began sending "upgrades" to the MT4 platform. The first one installed well and influenced nothing; that is, my charts and settings remained intact and Fapturbo continued to trade automatically. The second upgrade wiped out my charts and settings, although Fapturbo still worked after I re-installed all charts and settings. The third upgrade disabled MT4. I could not get it to "hold" my settings and Fapturbo became erratic, trading only a little, albeit successfully when it did trade.
Complaint #4: Investtech would not close trades over the telephone when asked, despite having done so many times historically.
Complaint #5: Investtech provided no technical support after hours, despite saying at the time of account opening that such exists 24/5.
Complaint #6: Investtech failed to close my account in a timely manner.
On September 8th, 2011, San Diego, California, as well as most of Arizona, parts of New Mexico and upper west Baja California, Mexico experienced a massive power outage that lasted about ten hours. This caused my computer and Fapturbo to stop. When I got home from work, I called Investtech to check my positions, fearing Fapturbo had opened positions, then became disabled and unable to close positions when needed. I called at 8:00 p.m. PST (11:00 p.m. Toronto time), and spoke to Kevin Chan, who checked my account, and said there was no new open positions created by Fapturbo. He confirmed my equity balance at that moment as $37, 233. I told him MT4 no longer worked and to close all my positions to protect that amount. Kevin informed me he had no authority to do so, and that there was no one on duty who could as it was "after hours." I was amazed that there was no one on duty for emergencies as the Forex market is open 24/5. (When I first opened my account with Investtech in May 2009, I was told there were technical staff on duty 24/5. This was part of Investtech's sales pitch.) But since I was in no danger of losing, I did nothing, except discontinue all present and future trading. At this time, I had about seven-to-ten remaining open trades for a negative balance (AKA Floating P/L) of about 7K-8K. This, plus the 35+K equaled the overall balance of about 43K.
Complaint #7: Investtech shut down their website before addressing my issues.
I was dismayed at the poor tech support, especially because MT4 was no longer reliable, so on 09/15/2011, I contacted Investtech again, this time via email, requesting them to close all my positions and further, to close my account. I expected my balance to be no less than $35,000 due to normal market fluctuations over about a week (43K minus 8K in open negative trades equals 35K in equity). I received an email from Investtech on 09/15/2011, one-half hour later, stating my account had been reset. They sent me a temporary password (fx847). (At least they acknowledged the MT4 software no longer worked until "fixed.") Following their instructions, I logged in, but was not able to get MT4 to work. It appeared to be dead. I reasoned that it was too corrupted, as software can become from time to time, in this case engendered by sequential upgrades from Investtechfx. I had not traded since the morning of September 8th, so I uninstalled MT4, and then went to In
vesttech's website to download a fresh copy, thinking I could take up trading again with a workable copy and a new PW (password). Investtech's website had a banner right in the middle of the opening page, stating they no longer worked with US customers. None of the buttons I normally use to download MT4 worked. I was locked out.
On September 16th, 2011, I sent another email requesting Investtech close my account, not reset it.
On September 20th, I received an email from Investtech stating that "part of the requirement for the account closure is to close all the open positions so that we can forward the request to the clearing depart to be finalized. Unfortunately we are unable to close the positions for customers under any circumstances." This has not been my experience with Investtech for 14 months. They have closed many individual positions, especially when MT4 misbehaved. For example, between the dates of 07/19/2010 and 08/27/2010 Investtech has manually closed twenty-three trades at my telephone request because the software would not.
On September 21, 2011, I sent another email to Investtech, informing them I was unable to close my positions (because the software was defunct and I could not download it from Investtech's website). I had also called Investtech and talked to the receptionist the day before. (I was having unrelated computer difficulties and had only email for a short time.) The receptionist stated Investtech would close all the positions in my account, but would not send me money via PayPal (that being the cheapest way to avoid wire transfer fees) because the balance was too large. She stated the balance was over $35,000 (equity). So, in my email, I provided information to transfer the entire balance to my credit union.
Complaint #8: Investtech took back trading incentives which were given to encourage deposits and trades.
Later in the day, on September 21rst, 2011, I received an email from Investtech stating they had closed all my open positions, and "adjusted the bonus in the amount of $1000 from your account which was provided to you for trading purpose only." The last deposit I made to Investtech was over a year earlier, and they just "now" thought to take back the bonus, that also made them thousands of dollars in commissions? (I saw in one of the data summaries I've managed to put together on my own, using their data, that I have generated over 52K in commissions for Investtechfx.) There was never any mention in all my contacts with Investtech that these trading bonuses would be revoked, once given, and used to benefit both of us. In this same email, Investtech again requested my wire transfer information, which I provided . (I commented they had no integrity, referring to recouping the trading bonus given earlier.)
On September 22nd, 2011, I received an email from Investtech stating, "We have forwarded the full balance to the bank account under your name, and your account has been closed."
Anticipating a need for records for 2011 tax purposes, on September 23rd, 2011, I sent an email to Investtech requesting information on my account's history. In 2010, I downloaded this from the website and showed a profit of about $10,000 for 2010. I paid taxes on that amount to our IRS, and I expected similar gains for 2011. Investtech did not respond, and I had, up until this point, been unable to access any records of transactions.
Complaint#9: Investtech kept $28,776.88.
Meanwhile, funds were transferred to my credit union, via wire. The transferred amount was $8,456.12. I immediately sent an email to Investtech stating that "$8,800" had been sent (typo.should have been $8,400) and inquired if maybe they had sent money from the wrong account, also to send the rest. (On 09/08/2011, Kevin Chan indicated the account had #37,233 in equity. That minus $8456.12 equals $28,776.88.) Later that day, I sent another email re-iterating their mistake and asking them to check the bank routing numbers, and to send me records for tax, and now accounting purposes.
Also on September 23rd, 2011, I sent a general inquiry email to osc.gov.on.ca, asking if this agency regulates Investtech, also informing them "I think I've been had, big time and am exploring my options."
On September 24th, 2011, I sent another email to Investtech, again re-iterating the account closure, the incorrect transferred amount, and request for information on how to set up MT4 to get tax information. I also asked Investtech who was their regulatory agency.
On September 25th, 2011, I received an email from Investtech, stating "Your inquiries have been forwarded, one of our account managers will be in touch with you by tomorrow. Thank You!"
On September 26th,2011, I received a detailed email from Lisa Marie Simard, Bilingual Lead Inquiries Officer, Ontario Securities Commission, who I later called and got more information on how to pursue Investtech. She also stated a case will be opened (Case#20110926-8863); further, that the matter was also copied to the Enforcement Branch of OSC.
Also on September 26th, 2011, I received an email from Investtech stating they had been trying to reach me by telephone at my two telephone numbers, "with no success." My two telephone numbers (one work, one cell) both have voice mails attached to them. There is no history of malfunction and there was no voice or other messages on either of them from Investtech.
On September 27th, 2011, I received another email from Investtech stating ".we've been trying to communicate with you for nearly 4 days. we've (sic) called the following numbers (both of which were correct)." Again, there were no messages on either of my voice mail services. In this email, Investtech also stated, "We've had no reply to prior e-mails or phone messages. We are her (sic) to assit (sic) you regarding your concerns and issues with your account." As documented above, there were many, many replies via email. Investtech did provide a toll free "800" number to call to directly talk to an account manager. On 09/27/2011, I finally reached "Jacob," who emphatically stated a full accounting would be provided, but that it would take 30 days to settle this matter.
The first and second weeks of October 2011 were uneventful, except that Jacob at Investtech did return many telephone calls, allegedly trying to cooperate with resolving my issue. He did send an email-attached PDF file of approximately 188 pages (according to him) and that I should "look it over." The PDF file would not open. It corrupted my email program (Outlook). I am able to open all other PDF files but this one gave me an error message that the data were corrupted. I sent an email to Jacob at Investtech requesting a re-send of an uncorrupted PDF file. Jacob also sent me a link to download a demo version of Investtech's MT4 software, to access my data in CSV format (for Excel analysis). I installed the demo software successfully, but my username (UN) and password (PW) did not work. I sent Jacob a request for my UN and PW. Jacob also requested I remove my complaint about Investtech on 100ForexBrokers.com, which I posted on 10/02/2011.
On October 15, 2011, I sent an email requesting that my complaint on 100ForexBrokers.com be removed as Investtech was communicating with me about resolving my issues with them, but that I would post it again with further information should I not receive a full refund from Investtech. I also noted that there were several other complaints on this website, most about Investtech not refunding their money.
Jacob also re-sent the data in another PDF file, which did open. However, when converted to xml file format, Excel displayed it in parts, which I will analyze when I more fully learn how to use Excel. (See attached for results of data analysis done by hand.)
Yesterday, I had an email and telephone conversation with Officer Furat Dinkha with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) about this case. He asked that I send him this narrative and the data Investtech sent me. I am complying today, 10/15/2011. I am sending him the email with the corrupted PDF file, and will upon his request, send him any and all email from Investtech.
Jacob at Investech sent me a successful link to the MT4 software, Demo version about one week later. I accessed this Demo, but there were no data in the Demo software. I did not see anything about entering my UN and PW into the Live Account side, but sooner or later I tried this, just because nothing else worked. This did open my data, which I intended to use to create reports and investigate this issue. In fairness, Jacob's email did say to convert the Demo into a Live account, which I missed, initially.
Complaint#10: Data in MT4 cannot be tabulated or manipulated to analyze. The data appear to be incomplete.
On October 29th, 2011, I began looking at the Demo/Live data, intending to download it into a file for printing and/or use in Excel. In this version of the data, using the MT4 software, there was no option to do either (sort, print, etc.) Moreover, the data appeared to be incomplete; that is, lacked a listing of all the trades from the beginning of my trading with Investtech in May 2009. Further, my intent was to begin with a snapshot on September 8, 2011, and then to look at each closed trade from that date forward. I only had seven-to-ten open trades at that time (average is about eight on a daily basis), with an equity of $35K-to-$37K+ and a balance of $43K+ ($43K minus the Floating P/L of approximately $8K). It should have been an easy matter to follow any trades from September 8th when I stopped trading, and any dates thereafter, specifically from September 15th (second request to close my account), or even through September 21rst, that being the date In
vesttech acknowledged closing my positions. But all this was not possible with the data in the Demo/Live version of MT4. The software did not allow any manipulation of the data, so I could not complete my analysis using their software.
As stated, Jacob re-sent the data via another PDF file October 16th, but due to family illness, I was not able to look at it until October 29th. He has several times in telephone conversations the last two weeks emphasized that we only have a limited amount of time to make a claim about problem trades with the "insurance company." While a real insurance company may or may not exist, my concern is with what Investtech has done to lower my equity balance by 28K+.
So, on October 29th, 2011, I first looked at the Demo/Live data and compared the number of trades listed in the year 2010, with a file I already had. This was in the form of a printout I created for 2010 taxes. I had to count the number of trades in my file and compare that to the number of trades in the Demo/Live software. I did this by hand. I think the number of trades is about equal. I counted 2300 in my file and about 2250 in the Demo/Live data. The difference of 50 files may be due to tired eyes, but just to be safe, when all is complete, I'd like to employ a more sophisticated software to compare the trades, one by one, to make sure none were added or omitted. I don't have such software at my disposal, but judging from my findings from the year 2011, I think it is a good idea to be thorough (see below).
Also, I noted that my total deposits to Investtech were $25,400. Investtech gave me credits for wire transfer fee refunds and deposit bonuses, totaling $1,940, for a trading total credit of $27,340 ($25,400 + $1,940). I could only account for $24,400 in deposits and $1,000 in bonuses, so Investtech gave me a little extra somewhere along the way.
Complaint#11: Investtech added, and then closed over fifteen additional trades that I did not make, thus attempting to make the data support their withholding at case closing.
Next, I looked at the Demo/Live data for 2011. Recall that I stopped trading with the MT4 software after placing two manual trades on September 8th, 2011. I asked Investtech to close all open trades as of that date. I had about eight open trades and $35-to-$37+K in equity, even after all open trades were to be closed. Investtech closed all open trades in my account on September 21rst and should have had to close only about eight ( between seven and ten--min and max range of trades open at the end of each trading day, on average). When I looked over the Demo/Live data, I found that Investtech had closed twenty-six trades. Investtech closed at least fifteen and probably up to more like eighteen trades trades that did not exist on my end; trades that apparently were artificially created and then closed by Investtech. All twenty-six trades closed at a loss-- a total loss of< $32,595.83>. (That's all I could find, sorting all the trades by hand.) I estimated
the loss of my legitimate eight trades to be about $7K-$8K, so the difference of what I thought were my open (losing) trades and what Investtech closed is about $27K-pretty close to the amount my account is short.
Further analysis revealed some interesting findings. The twenty-six bogus trades dated from 04/12/2011 through 09/12/2011. Seven of the trades, dating from 09/09/2011 through 09/12/2011 occurred when my software was disabled, and the computer was off. In other words, there could not have been any trades during this time.
Another interesting finding: there were fourteen trades that were supposedly initiated before 09/08/2011. Of these, all but two were for .30 pips. Two trades on or after 09/08/2011 were also for .30 pips. I happen to know this number because there are several expert advisors on the web that sell their advice about what currency pairs to trade and what to avoid. Additionally, .30 pips is the cutoff point, according to one source, where risk and rewards cross. It is also the cross over point psychologically, representing my confidence in the likelihood of a trade being profitable. During 2011, I made hundreds of trades ranging from .01 pips to 10.0 pips (the latter, and one other trade at 5.00 pips, were accidents from hitting the wrong keys). From 04/29/01 through 06/01/10, I experimented with numerous pip values, and traded eighteen times at the .30 pip level. After that time I traded, using .30 pips as my trade value, very few times, following the advice
of the experts. Instead, I traded much lower values when manually trading (.01 through .25 pips) and much higher values when allowing the robot to trade (.50 through mostly 3.00 pips). In other words, most if not all of the .30 pip trades were not mine.
October 29th, 2011. I'm learning Excel and will use it to add the various columns of data in the PDF file sent by Jacob. I suspect the totals will be correct, but I'd like to learn Excel anyway. This and the above experiences with Investtech are good enough reasons to learn the program.
October 30th, 2011. Attached is a separate WORD file with the twenty-six suspect transactions resulting in the $27+K loss. This was also sent to Investtech, this same date. Also attached is the newer PDF file sent by Jacob at Investtech with my trading data. This file appears to be intact.
November 1, 2011. Received an email from Jacob at Investtech stating the file sent on October 30th, 2011, containing the 26 transactions had been received and that it would be investigated.
Complaint#12: Investtechfx failed to provide critical information, specifically the contact information of the insurance company they allegedly employ to check on trades.
November 12, 2011. Sent Investtech/Jacob an email stating I have heard nothing back from them, despite having sent the email about the 26 transactions two weeks ago. In this email, I have also requested the name and contact information of the insurance company Jacob referenced; the one that allegedly will investigate erroneous trades. I wish to further investigate this company and its relationship with Investtech.
November 18, 2011. Received two emails from Jacob at Investtechfx, one stating that the twenty-six trades were investigated and confirmed that they were made from my computer. The other email requested I remove negative reviews on an Internet site.
November 19, 2011. I sent the following email in response, thus closing out my communication with Investtechfx, until the above is filed with the appropriate legal, criminal, governmental and other agencies concerned.
"Jacob, I see no reason to continue communication. This data log you sent contains many trades that were made when my computer was off, as documented elsewhere. One trade in the first group of trades was made on a Saturday (08/06/2011. No trades can be made in a closed market.). You do seem to have considerable temerity.
The IP address in your data log that is associated with the trades, according to my ISP, is not mine. (Your associated IP address for my account number is 188.8.131.52. In real life, my IP's begin with either 68. 6... or 192.... depending upon whether the router or the ISP assigns them.).???
My biggest complaint against Investtechfx.com is that you failed to close my account on Sept. 8th, 2011 when I called and talked to Kevin Chan, when he stated my equity (actual cash available in my account) was $35K+. I am also quite dismayed that you think that closing Floating P/L trades alters the equity. Equity is the number that reflects the actual balance (cash), taking into account all open trades, profitable or not. Closing open trades lowers the Balance, which becomes the same as the equity when all open trades are closed. This has been the case with MT4 since day one of my trading. Only once in my 14 months trading with Investtech did my Equity dip to $19K+, and that bounced back to $25K within a month, as the equity does not fluctuate that much when trades are closed daily (with the robot) or are minimal in number (as when I manually traded).
You have consistently manipulated, maneuvered and avoided sending requested money, using bogus reasons ("VIP member"), and now apparent fraud. I have never in my life experienced such knavery. You will be hearing from "other" parties about our experiences.
No need to comment. I think we are finished with this part of our interaction."
Last Update: 11/19/2011
210 S. Juniper St., #205
Escondido, CA 92025