NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Department of Justice has sued another former head of JPMorgan Chase & Co for alleged racketeering and manipulation of precious metal prices between 2008 and 2016, the latest in a series of similar prosecuting authorities.
The charge against Jeffrey Ruffo, who is also charged with other federal crimes including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, is the result of an "ongoing investigation," federal prosecutors said in a statement.
Ruffo is the sixth person to be charged for alleged fraud in connection with the JPMorgan precious metal desk.
The case concerns counterfeiting, which involves bidding for purchases or offers to sell contracts with the intention of canceling them before execution, so that counterfeiters can influence prices. In recent years, there has been an increase in counterfeiting of related prosecutors in the United States by the Department of Justice and Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Ruffo could not immediately be reached for comment.
A JPMorgan spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In recent legislative filings, the US bank has said it is cooperating with various metals-related investigations into metals trading.
According to the indictment, Ruffo worked at JPMorgan from 2008 to 201
The indictment also alleged that Ruffo and his former colleagues scammed JPMorgan's customers who had invested in "barrier options" by pushing option prices to levels that benefited the bank.
An option is a financial instrument that gives buyers the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at an agreed price and at a fixed time. The value is linked to the value of the asset.
While previous prosecution prosecutions have led to guilty charges, a former metal trader in the Swiss bank, UBS Group, was acquitted by a jury in a similar case last year. The acquittal highlighted the difficulty in making a case that the cancellation of orders is a criminal act, given that many market orders are completed.
Some attorneys also argue that it is aggressive to charge bank executives with a violent conspiracy, usually associated with organized crime.
The charges were filed on Thursday and published on Friday.
(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing and Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Daniel Wallis)