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Could JPMorgan Chase Be Hit with a Fourth Felony Count for Rigging Precious Metals Markets?

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Testifying Before Congress on the London Whale Trading Losses at His Bank

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Testifying Before Congress on the London Whale Trading Losses at His Bank

On September 25, 2013, after spending five years and 7,000 hours using taxpayers’ money investigating the potential rigging of the silver market, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) concluded that “there is not a viable basis to bring an enforcement action with respect to any firm or its employees related to our investigation of silver markets.” The investigation was provoked by multiple complaints asserting the market was rigged.

The CFTC is a Federal regulator that oversees the U.S. commodities markets. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is also a Federal agency and the only one that can bring a criminal case against firms and individuals who commit conspiracy and fraud in commodity and securities markets. (The Securities and Exchange Commission can bring only civil, not criminal, cases.)

On October 9 of last year, the DOJ used its criminal powers and charged John Edmonds, a former long-time employee of JPMorgan Chase, with one count of commodities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, commodities fraud, commodities price manipulation and spoofing.

The charges covered the period in which the CFTC had found no “viable basis to bring an enforcement action” for silver market manipulation.

Edmonds has pleaded guilty to the charges and admitted that “from approximately 2009 through 2015, he conspired with other precious metals traders at the Bank to manipulate the markets for gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (NYMEX) and Commodity Exchange Inc. (COMEX)….”

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