(Adds case background, CFTC statement)
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A futures broker has agreed to pay a $1.56 million penalty to settle claims that he manipulated wheat futures prices with fictitious sales in 2009, according to a court filing.
Eric Moncada, who worked for trading firms BES Capital LLC and Serdika LLC in New York, will also be barred from trading wheat futures products for five years, among other terms of the settlement filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.
U.S. District Colleen McMahon, who in July ruled that there was "absolutely no dispute" that Moncada had engaged in fictitious sales, approved the settlement. [ID: nL2N0PQ2XU]
Moncada neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in the settlement.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Moncada, BES and Serdika in 2012 accusing him of attempting to manipulate wheat futures prices by electronically entering and immediately cancelling orders that they did not intend to fill.
According to the lawsuit, Moncada entered and canceled within seconds numerous orders for 200 or more wheat contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade in an attempt to create a misleading impression of increasing liquidity to move prices upward or downward.
"The Commission remains committed to protecting the integrity of the markets by prosecuting manipulative conduct of all forms, including the type of conduct engaged in by Moncada - the wholesale entering and cancelling of orders without the intent to actually fill the orders," Aitan Goelman, the CFTC's director of enforcement, said in a statement.
In March, McMahon entered default judgments against BES and Serdika, which shared offices and ownership and both of which had ceased trading by the time of the complaint.
Moncada's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The case is CFTC v. Moncada, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-08791. (Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; editing by Gunna Dickson)