Former Metals Traders for JP Morgan Face Racketeering Charges

A federal judge in Chicago ruled that four ex-employees for JPMorgan Chase & Co. must face racketeering charges upon accusations of price manipulation of metals futures.

The judge’s decision resulted in a trial being set for October 19. The case represented the most heavy-handed attempts by the U.S. Department of Justice so far to prevent manipulation of commodities.

Case background

Prosecutors in the case claim several former global precious metals desk traders from JPMorgan regularly manipulated prices of gold, platinum, silver and palladium between 2008 and 2016. The defendants attempted to have the case dismissed, arguing one spoofing conspiracy was not enough to allow for a racketeering charge to proceed in court.

However, the judge disagreed with the defendants’ assertion, and also allowed eleven other charges to stand, spread across several categories: market manipulation, spoofing, commodities and wire fraud, and conspiracy. The judge did eliminate charges of bank fraud.

JPMorgan, for its part, settled a variety of spoofing cases with the DOJ and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in September to the tune of $920 million, and in doing so also admitted to wrongdoing.

The defendants in the case are former head of global precious metals Michael Nowak, former traders Christopher Jordan and Gregg Smith, and a former salesperson Jeffrey Ruffo, who allegedly engaged in the conspiracy together.

For more information about the steps you should take if you believe there has been a fraudulent conspiracy occurring in your workplace, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.