Court allows DOJ to present bonus, salary info about JPMorgan traders in spoofing trial
The trial in the spoofing lawsuit targeting several JPMorgan traders started on July 8, 2022, and will continue today, with the Court making decisions on what evidence to accept.
On July 10, 2022, the Honorable Edmond E. Chang of the Illinois Northern District Court signed an order allowing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to introduce data about the compensation of the former traders at trial.
Former JPMorgan precious metals traders – Gregg Smith, Michael Nowak, and Jeffrey Ruffo are accused of spoofing the market. The Court has ruled that the defendants’ compensation is powerful evidence of motive for the alleged crimes. The related evidence on bonuses is allowed because there is a sufficient connection between the profitability of the trades and the bonuses, which in turn is powerful evidence of motive.
The DOJ plans to introduce annual salary and bonus information for the defendants and their co- conspirators while employed by JPMorgan during the period covered by the superseding indictment (i.e., 2008–2016). Specifically, the United States expects to introduce evidence that, from 2008 through 2016, while employed at JPMorgan:
- Defendant Smith earned $9,890,044 in total (salary plus bonus) compensation;
- Defendant Nowak earned $23,700,074;
- Defendant Ruffo earned $10,425,064;
- Defendant Christopher Jordan earned $1,125,016 (2008–2009 only);
- Donald Turnbull earned $12,727,350;
- Stuart Piller earned $13,289,936;
- Michel Simonian earned $4,515,111 (2008–2014 only);
- John Edmonds earned $1,996,064 in total; and
- Christian Trunz earned $2,720,049.
Defendants’ performance-based compensation also accounted for a substantial portion of their total compensation—69% of Defendant Smith’s total compensation, 74% of Defendant Nowak’s, 70% of Defendant Ruffo’s, and 69% of Defendant Jordan’s.
Back in 2019, the DOJ launched criminal proceedings against the former JPMorgan precious metals futures traders. The indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in widespread spoofing, market manipulation and fraud while working at JPMorgan through the placement of orders they intended to cancel before execution in an effort to create liquidity and drive prices toward orders they wanted to execute on the opposite side of the market.