Former JP Morgan Trader Pleads Guilt to Manipulating Precious Metals Markets for Years

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An “exhaustive” investigation of the silver market by the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission managed to miss serial acts of price manipulation in the gold, silver, platinum, and palladium futures contracts markets.  John Edmonds, 36, of Brooklyn, a former JPMorgan precious-metals major bullion trader, admitted he engaged in a six-year ‘spoofing’ scheme from 2009 to 2015 that involved placing orders for precious metals futures contracts with the intent to cancel those orders before execution in order to manipulate prices.  He recently plead guilty to commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, commodity price manipulation and spoofing and faces up to 30 years in prison, but is expected to get a lighter sentence.  He said that he learned this practice from more senior traders and that his supervisors at the firm knew of his actions.
  • John Edmonds, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, price manipulation and spoofing.
  • Edmonds, a 13-year J.P. Morgan veteran, said that he learned how to manipulate prices from more senior traders and that his supervisors at the firm knew of his actions.
John Edmonds, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, price manipulation and spoofing, according to a Tuesday release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Edmonds spent 13 years at New York-based J.P. Morgan until leaving last year, according to his LinkedIn account.

As part of his plea, Edmonds said that from 2009 through 2015 he conspired with other J.P. Morgan traders to manipulate the prices of gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures contracts on exchanges run by the CME Group. He and others routinely placed orders that were quickly cancelled before the trades were executed, a price-distorting practice known as spoofing.

“For years, John Edmonds engaged in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures contracts for his own gain by placing orders that were never intended to be executed,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in the release.

Of note for J.P. Morgan, the world’s biggest investment bank by revenue: Edmonds, a relatively junior employee with the title of vice president, said that he learned this practice from more senior traders and that his supervisors at the firm knew of his actions.

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Well, now that we are informed of this, thank heaven that we can now put our full trust and confidence that such a thing is no longer possible.