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September 19, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Two foreign currency exchange companies operating in San Francisco agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle allegations of fraudulent promises to clients and job seekers, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Monday.

National Investment Consultants Inc., Pacific Best Group Ltd. and three people who have worked for the firms agreed to pay $1.78 million in restitution and more than $400,000 in fines. They were accused of making fraudulent sales pitches and offering illegal foreign currency futures.

The companies placed ads in the Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily offering job opportunities in foreign currency trading. While seeking the recruits and clients, the firms distorted the profits and risks involved, the commission said.

Defense attorney Edward Gartenberg declined to comment.

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