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This article analyzes the confusion faced by commodity futures traders in assessing whether their trading strategies constitute illegal spoofing and examines whether the CFTC and Seventh Circuit have provided sufficient guidance on the distinction between spoofing and legitimate trading activity.
In 2010, Congress expressly criminalized a type of trading activity on the commodity futures exchanges referred to as “spoofing.” This new anti-spoofing statute greatly increased a prosecutor’s power to crack down on traders who place and cancel orders at extremely high speeds through the use of powerful computer programs, supposedly in order to manipulate commodity futures prices and harm innocent investors. However, following the government’s first criminal conviction for spoofing in United States v. Coscia, questions remain about what makes a commodity futures trader’s conduct illegal instead of a legitimate trading strategy. Nonetheless, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently have brought a substantial number of new cases against traders for violations of the anti-spoofing statute.
By Jodi Misher Peikin and Justin Roller
The DOJ has signaled its intent to pursue prosecutions for spoofing — which the law defines as “bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution” — aggressively. This article begins with a brief discussion of the elements that the government must prove to establish commodities fraud and wire fraud. It then examines recent spoofing prosecutions that raise important questions about the applicability of the traditional fraud statutes to spoofing-related activity. How the federal courts answer these open questions will have significant implications for participants in the commodities markets.
By Jacqueline C. Wolff
Recent actions by the DOJ suggest that although the DOJ may continue to prosecute certain relators’ FCA cases, other relators may find themselves on the other side of a government motion to dismiss.
By Kate Monks
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the majority of an $11 million jury verdict brought by a whistleblower who claimed that his company fired him for raising concerns about possible FCPA violations.
By Kate Monks
The former CEO of a pharmaceutical company was found guilty by a jury on eight counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution for orchestrating a scheme that led to the collapse of one of Puerto Rico’s biggest banks.