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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.
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ITC General Exclusion Orders Targeting All Importers Are On the Rise
By Daniel Muino, Brian Busey and Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj
In recent years, the ITC has issued more General Exclusion Orders (GEOs) than in the past. For importers of products potentially implicated by a requested GEO, the GEO can be a major threat even if the importer is not a respondent in the case.
Ticket Resellers’ Campaign Raises Securities Law and Money Laundering Issues
By Chris Castle
Some markets allow for the sale of a future contract for tickets that have not gone on sale as yet (i.e., “speculative ticketing”). The future contract, like an option or a commodities future, allows someone to purchase the right to buy a ticket once the tickets are offered for sale. This seems to implicate securities law issues, broker-dealer regulations and potentially the general solicitation rule.
Rule 10b-5 Liability: The Second Circuit and ‘Rio Tinto’
By Anthony Michael Sabino
Part Three of a Three-Part Article
The first two installments exposited Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders and Lorenzo v. S.E.C., both essential to understanding S.E.C. v. Rio Tinto, the Second Circuit’s most recent holding regarding Rule 10b-5 “scheme” liability. Now we examine how the “Mother Court” of federal securities law has tended to that branch of the mighty judicial oak rooted in that venerable regulation.
Acquitted-Conduct Sentencing: A Quagmire Neither the Supreme Court Nor the U.S. Sentencing Commission Can Continue to Avoid
By Harry Sandick and Nicole Scully
It has been common knowledge to criminal practitioners for years that a criminal defendant’s sentence for a crime which they have been convicted can be increased based on consideration of conduct that the jury acquitted. This outcome can make a partial acquittal in federal court into a pyrrhic victory.