Article: Merrill Lynch Traders Can’t Avoid Spoofing, Fraud Charges

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Merrill Lynch Traders Can’t Avoid Spoofing, Fraud Charges

Law360, 21 May 2020

The government’s June 2018 indictment says the traders’ scheme between June 2009 and October 2014 created the illusion of market movement by using large orders to inflate the price, with no intention of filling the orders, thus committing wire fraud, commodities fraud and conspiracy to commit commodities fraud.

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Article: Racketeering Law Makes Its Return to Wall Street

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Racketeering Law Makes Its Return to Wall Street

Peter J. Henning

The New York Times 24 October 2019

Prosecutors have not brought a case under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, against Wall Street traders since the investment firm Princeton Newport Partners was indicted in the mid-1980s. The RICO charges filed recently against three traders at JPMorgan Chase indicate that prosecutors may be resurrecting the law to target white-collar defendants.

Prosecutors accused Michael Nowak, who was the head of precious metals trading at the bank, along with Gregg Smith and Christopher Jordan, of organizing the precious metals desk as a RICO enterprise to engage in “spoofing,” as well as wire and bank fraud in which JPMorgan and its customers were the victims

Spoofing,” which was made a crime by the Dodd-Frank Act, happens when traders are “bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution.”

Release: CFTC Orders Two Trading Firms, Bank to Pay a Total of $3 Million for Spoofing

Release

CFTC Orders Two Trading Firms, Bank to Pay a Total of $3 Million for Spoofing 

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that civil enforcement actions were filed and simultaneously settled against two trading firms and one bank for violating the Commodity Exchange Act’s (CEA) prohibition on spoofing (bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution).

Release: CFTC Orders Two Trading Firms, Bank to Pay a Total of $3 Million for Spoofing

Release

CFTC Orders Two Trading Firms, Bank to Pay a Total of $3 Million for Spoofing

CFTC, 1 October 2019

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that civil enforcement actions were filed and simultaneously settled against two trading firms and one bank for violating the Commodity Exchange Act’s (CEA) prohibition on spoofing (bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution). These cases were brought in connection with the Division of Enforcement’s Spoofing Task Force.

“As these cases demonstrate, the CFTC is committed to preserving the integrity of our markets—like the financial and precious metals futures markets at issue here—and to rooting out unlawful practices like spoofing,” said CFTC Enforcement Director James McDonald. “We will continue to vigilantly investigate and prosecute misconduct by entities that spoof in our markets.”

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Filing: CFTC v Morgan Stanley

Filing

CFTC v Morgan Stanley

CFTC, 30 September 2019

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“Commission”) has reason to believe that during the period from in or about November 2013 to at least November 2014 (“Relevant Period”), Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc., (“Morgan Stanley” or “Respondent”) violated Section 4c(a)(5)(C) of the Commodity Exchange Act (the “Act”), 7 U.S.C. § 6c(a)(5)(C) (2012). Therefore, the Commission deems it appropriate and in the public interest that public administrative proceedings be, and hereby are, instituted to determine whether Respondent engaged in the violations set forth herein and to determine whether any order should be issued imposing remedial sanctions.

PDF (7 pages): CFTC v Morgan Stanley

Article: J.P. Morgan is only the start as DOJ and CFTC crack down on spoofing

Article - Media

J.P. Morgan is only the start as DOJ and CFTC crack down on spoofing

Neils Christensen

Kitco News, 19 September 2019

Three traders charged with manipulating precious metals markets for nearly a decade could be only the start of a larger market-wide crackdown on previously-unchecked illegal market behavior.

According to media reports, federal prosecutors and regulators are intensifying their investigations of allegedly fraudulent precious metals trades at J.P. Morgan Chase to other U.S. markets and financial firms.

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Article: Three J.P. Morgan precious metals traders charged as criminal probe continues

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Three J.P. Morgan precious metals traders charged as criminal probe continues

Dawn Giel

CNBC, 16 September 2019

Federal prosecutors on Monday accused three J.P. Morgan precious metals traders, including the global head of base and precious metals trading, of participating in a racketeering conspiracy in connection with a multiyear scheme to manipulate the markets and defraud customers.

The alleged scheme saw the nation’s largest bank by assets profit handsomely, while investors suffered losses.

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Article: Chat room messages are ‘smoking gun’ in $25 million Merrill CFTC spoofing penalty

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Chat room messages are ‘smoking gun’ in $25 million Merrill CFTC spoofing penalty

Todd Ehret

Reuters, 17 July 2019

The U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) last month chalked up another impressive settlement over the market manipulation tactic known as “spoofing.” The $25 million penalty for Merrill Lynch Commodities in the case is the second largest related to spoofing.

Like many of the prior cases, where the firms cooperated with the investigations and were given credit for doing so, the proverbial “smoking gun” in the case was the record of online chat rooms where traders discussed markets, prices, and their strategies and actions.

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Article: Merrill Lynch Commodities receives $25m fine for spoofing and market manipulation (15 July 2019)

Article - Media

Merrill Lynch Commodities receives $25m fine for spoofing and market manipulation (15 July 2019)

Jennie Clarke

Behavox15 July 2019

Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc has received a $25m charge from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for spoofing, manipulation and attempted manipulation, with respect to certain precious metals futures.

The CFTC found that Merrill Lynch Commodities traders placed orders to buy and sell precious metals futures contracts with the intent to cancel their orders before execution. The traders employed a specific spoofing strategy in which they would place a small bid or offer with the intent to execute that order. Prior to the execution of that order, they would place a larger order on the opposite side of the same market with the intent to cancel that order before execution. This manipulated market prices and created artificial and fluctuating prices.

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