JPMorgan Chase to Pay $211M to Settle Charges It Rigged Municipal Bond Transaction Bidding Competitions

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $211 million to settle charges that its JP Morgan Securities LLC Division rigged dozens of bidding competitions for reinvesting the proceeds from municipal bond transactions to win business from local and state governments. The settlement is for complaints that the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, 25 state attorneys general, and bank regulators had filed against the investment bank. JPMorgan has also agreed to give back approximately $129.7 million to the municipalities that were harm.

JP Morgan Securities is accused of making at least 93 secret deals with companies that take care of the bidding processes in 31 states. The arrangement let the investment bank see competitors’ offers.

According to regulators, between 1997 and 2005, members of JPMorgan’s municipal derivatives desk made misrepresentations and omissions in the secret deals, which impacted the prices the governments ended up paying while jeopardizing the tax-exempt position of billions of dollars worth of securities in the billions. This alleged misconduct also undermined JP Morgan’s competitors, who, along with the financial firm, are supposed to offer cities and states the opportunity to bid for competitive interest rates when they invest their tax-exempt proceeds from municipal bonds in municipal reinvestment products. JPMorgan is accused of also sometimes turning in nonwinning bids on purpose to meet tax requirements.

While The New York Time reports that by agreeing to settle JPMorgan Chase is not denying or admitting to wrongdoing, Yahoo reports that the financial firm has admitted to the illegal conduct and agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s probe as long as it wasn’t prosecuted. JPMorgan, however, did blame the illegal activity on ex-employees at a division that is no longer in operation.

To settle, JPMorgan will pay $51.2 million to the SEC, $35 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, $50 million to the IRS, and $75 million to a number of state attorneys general. It also reached a settlement with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Related Web Resources:

JPMorgan Settles Bond Bid-Rigging Case for $211 Million, NY Times, July 7, 2011
JPMorgan pays $211M to settle bid-rigging charges, Yahoo, July 7, 2011

More Blog Posts:

JP Morgan Chase Agrees to Pay $861M to Lehman Brothers Trustee, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 28, 2011
Citigroup Ordered by FINRA to Pay $54.1M to Two Investors Over Municipal Bond Fund Losses, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 13, 2011
UBS Financial Reaches $160M Settlement with the SEC and Justice Department Over Securities Fraud, Antitrust, and Other Charges Related to Municipal Bond Market, May 16, 2011
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