The investigation concerns whether USO and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices.
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USO is an exchange traded fund (“ETF”) purportedly designed to track the daily changes in percentage terms of the spot price of West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”) light, sweet crude oil delivered to Cushing, Oklahoma. USO stated that it would achieve its investment objectives by investing substantially all of its portfolio assets in the near month WTI futures contract. However, extraordinary market conditions in early 2020, including the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a price ware between Saudi Arabia and Russia, made USO’s purported investment objective and strategy unfeasible. Because of the nature of USO’s investment strategy, these and other converging factors caused the Fund to suffer exceptional losses and undermined its ability to meet its ostensible investment objective. However, rather than disclose the known impacts and risks to the Fund as a result of these exceptional threats, the Fund’s principals instead conducted a massive offering of USO shares, ultimately selling billions of dollars’ worth of USO shares to the market. Although the offering increased the fees payable to the Fund’s principals, it also exacerbated the undisclosed risks to the Fund by magnifying trading inefficiencies and causing USO to approach position and accountability limits as a result of the Fund’s massive positions in the WTI futures market. Ultimately, the Fund suffered billions of dollars in losses and was forced to abandon its investment strategy. Through a series of rapid-fire investment overhauls, USO was forced to transform from the passive ETF designed to track spot oil prices that its principals had pitched to investors to an almost unrecognizable actively managed fund struggling to avoid a total implosion. In April and May 2020, USO’s principals belatedly acknowledged the extreme threats and adverse impacts that the Fund had been experiencing at the time of the March offering, but which they had failed to disclose to investors.
The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com.
Robert S. Willoughby
888-476-6529 ext. 9980
SOURCE Pomerantz LLP
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