JPMorgan’s Admission to CFTC of “Reckless” Trading Could Lead to More Securities Fraud Cases

According to one brokerage executive who spoke with Advisen, JPMorgan Chase & CO.’s (JPM) admission to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission when settling securities allegations over its London Whale debacle that it engaged in “reckless” trading could get the financial firm into more legal trouble with investors.

The CFTC implied that because of certain “manipulative” actions, JPMorgan managed to sell $7B in derivatives in one day, including $4.6 billion in three hours. That the term “manipulate” was used could prove useful to plaintiffs (The regulator also accused the firm of using manipulative device related to credit default swaps trading, which violated a Dodd-Frank provision prohibiting such behavior). JPMorgan will pay $100 million to settle the securities fraud cause with the agency.

With the Securities and Exchange Commission also now seeking to obtain admission of wrongdoing from defendants in certain instances, such acknowledgments to regulators could impact firm’s insurance coverage terms. Right now, standard directors and officers coverage policies exclude personal profiting, fraud, and other illegal conduct. Admissions of fraud, however, could nullify such policies.

Now, in the wake of JPMorgan’s tentative $13B residential mortgage backed securities settlement with the federal government and the possibility that the firm might take the bulk of the penalty as a tax deduction, US Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D, Ill.) and Peter Welch (D., Vt.) have introduced the “Stop Deducting Damages Act,“ which would prevent companies from being able to deduct from their taxes damages that they paid to the government. The two lawmakers have even written JPMorgan CEO James Dimon asking him to not take a tax deduction and agree to be responsible for the full payment. Also expected to speak out against JPMorgan taking any tax deduction on CFTC settlement are Americans for Tax Fairness and the US Public Interest Research Group.

The Wall Street Journal says that the firm’s earlier $5.1 million settlement with Freddie Mac (FMCC) and Fannie Mae (FNMA) will be completely tax deductible and could save JPMorgan close to $1.5 billion in taxes. The firm has declined to confirm this.

Meanwhile, government authorities are continuing with certain probes into numerous business lines at some of the biggest banks in the country, as the number of investigations, settlements, and lawsuits against the latter continue to rise in numbers. For example, there are investigators who are looking into possible global foreign-exchange markets manipulation involving UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Barclays, Deutsche Bank (DB), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Citigroup (C), and JPMorgan.

Also under the microscope is Bank of America (BAC). The bank said that a US attorney intends to recommend that the Department of Justice file a civil RMBS lawsuit against it. The group looking into this matter is made up federal and state prosecutors. According to one source, they are also conducting similar probes into several other banks, including Citigroup, Wells Fargo (WFC), UBS (UBS), Goldman Sachs (GS), RBS, Morgan Stanley (MS), Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank.

Democrats’ Bill Would Block J.P. Morgan Settlement Deductions, The Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2013

More Inquiries of Major Banks Will Be Launched, ProgramBusiness, November 4, 2013

JPMorgan to pay $100 million to settle with CFTC on Whale trades: reports, Reuters, October 15, 2013


More Blog Posts:

J.P. Morgan’s $13B Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Deal with the DOJ Stumbles Into Obstacles, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, October 28, 2013

Massachusetts AG Investigates JPMorgan’s Debt-Collection Practices, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, September 24, 2013

Is JPMorgan on the Verge of Settling A $5.75 Billion Mortgage-Backed Securities Case Filed by BlackRock & Neuberger Berman Group?, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, October 29, 2013