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Fraud in CFTC-Regulated Markets

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud in markets regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the CFTC, or governed by the Commodity Exchange Act, the CEA. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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Record-Setting Submissions: CFTC Whistleblower Program 2020 Annual Report Documents Increasing Popularity of Program

Posted  11/5/20
Commodity Futures Trading Commission seal on building
Every year, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is required to report to Congress about the CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program, created by the Dodd-Frank Act, which pays awards to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the Commission with original information, about matters within the CFTC’s jurisdiction, that leads to the recovery of more than $1 million in monetary sanctions.  This week, the CFTC...

JPMorgan Chase Pays nearly $1 Billion in Fines for Market Manipulation of Precious Metals and U.S. Treasuries

Posted  10/16/20
By Carolina Gonzalez
investors on computers for market trading
JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay over $955 million to settle civil and criminal charges over a scheme involving fake trades in precious metals and U.S. treasuries designed to manipulate the market in an effort to enhance the bank’s profits and cut losses. The multi-agency enforcement action was brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and...

October 2, 2020

Jon Barry Thompson of Pennsylvania has been ordered to pay approximately $7.4 million in restitution for making false representations to two customers regarding purchases of Bitcoin.  According to the CFTC press release, Thompson induced the customers to send him the funds by assuring them he had the Bitcoin in hand.  However, after receiving the funds, he distributed the money to third parties, failed to provide the customers with any Bitcoin, and made false representations regarding the location of the Bitcoin and the status of the funds.  Thompson pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud in a parallel action relating to this matter, and will be sentenced in January 2021.  CFTC

September 30, 2020

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC will pay a total of $10 million in civil monetary penalties to the SEC and CFTC.  In an agreement with the SEC, the company will pay a $5 million civil monetary penalty arising from charges that the firm violated the short sale procedures of Regulation SHO. Specifically, Morgan Stanley improperly used “long” and “short” aggregation units when it hedged synthetic exposure to swaps by purchasing or selling the securities referenced in the swaps.  The aggregation units were not independent and did not have separate trading strategies.  As a result, Morgan Stanley should have netted the long and short positions of both units together or across the entire broker-dealer and marked the orders as long or short based on that netting. The CFTC, which also imposed a $5 million penalty, charged that Morgan Stanley failed to comply with swap data reporting obligations, inaccurately reporting swap data for approximately three million swaps. SEC; CFTC

September 30, 2020

Marcus Schulz will pay over $1 million – a $670,000 penalty and $427,000 in disgorgement – to resolve CFTC allegations that, while employed as an energy trader, he passed on confidential information to an outside broker, including information about his employers block trade orders.  The broker would then arrange to take the other side of the order at prices that allowed the broker and others involved in the scheme to make a profit on offsetting trades, which profits they shared with Schulz.  CFTC

September 29, 2020

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $920 million to the CFTC and $35 million to the SEC, as well as enter into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, in order to resolve charges of fraudulently engaging in unlawful trading in both the precious metals and U.S. Treasury futures contracts.  Between at least 2008 through 2016, numerous traders in JPMorgan’s New York, London, and Singapore offices—including the heads of both the precious metals and Treasuries sections—placed hundreds of thousands of spoof orders to artificially drive up supply and demand, ultimately succeeding in manipulating market prices.  Additionally, JPMorgan failed to identify, investigate, and stop the misconduct; JPMorgan also initially responded to government requests in a manner that was misleading.  The penalties imposed by the CFTC—which includes the highest restitution ($311.7 million), disgorgement ($172 million), and civil monetary penalty ($436.4 million) —amount to the highest monetary relief ever imposed by the CFTC in a spoofing case.  CFTC; SEC; USAO CT

September 28, 2020

Citibank N.A. and its related entities Citigroup Energy Inc. and Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. will pay a $4.5 million penalty for maintaining an inadequate telephone audio recording and preservation system.  According to the charges, Citibank internal reporting described the audio preservation system as having a flaw that was a “ticking time bomb” that could lead to the deletion of audio recordings.  When Citibank was required to produce recordings in response to a CFTC subpoena, the company disclosed that millions of audio files for 982 users had been deleted as a result of the flaw.  CFTC

CFTC Sets Sights on Binary Options Fraud

Posted  09/17/20
By Sarah “Poppy” Alexander
commodity futures trading commission logo
The CFTC continues its hot streak, aggressively pursuing fraudsters and rewarding whistleblowers who come forward with valuable information.  One particular enforcement trend stands out: a number of high-profile settlements related to illegal binary options trading platforms. Binary options are the OTB of the stock market—a method of gambling whether particular stocks will go up or down without actually...

September 11, 2020

Two whistleblowers who made specific, credible, and timely reports to the CFTC of an ongoing fraud have been awarded an undisclosed sum.  The first whistleblower, based in the U.S., made the first report and provided information and documents that would have otherwise been difficult to obtain.  The second whistleblower, based abroad, provided additional information, including the wrongdoers’ attempts to avoid detection.  According to the CFTC, the whistleblowers’ joint efforts helped lead to a successful enforcement action.  CFTC
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