Jamie Dimon thinks about the culture of fraud he's built at Chase.
Bid-rigging always seems like such an easy game. At least until someone at Bank of America gets scared and starts talking to the Feds. Uh-oh...
More color is leaking, and it appears other large banks have been implicated in the fraud. Imagine that.
Bank of America Corp.’s agreement to pay $137 million in restitution for taking part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy for municipal-investment contracts may soon be followed by more settlements to repay the scheme’s victims, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division head said.
- “Stay tuned to this channel -- I think you will see a lot more activity in the coming weeks and months,” Christine Varney, the antitrust chief, told reporters yesterday. “We are committed to getting restitution, full restitution, to all the municipalities that were victims of this scheme.”
Bank of America, which has assisted the government probe of the $2.8 trillion municipal-bond market since at least 2007 in return for leniency, has provided documents, e-mails and recordings of phone calls, according to court records of civil suits. In September, Douglas Lee Campbell, formerly employed by the bank’s municipal derivatives group, pleaded guilty to taking part in a conspiracy to pay state and local governments below- market rates on investments purchased with bond proceeds.
- Bank of America’s settlement is “likely the tip of the iceberg,”Andrew Gavil, a law professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C., said in an e-mail. He said other conspirators may pay much higher penalties.
The government has identified more than a dozen firms, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., UBS AG, and Societe Generale as unindicted co-conspirators in a criminal case brought by the Justice Department against a Los Angeles investment broker.
JPMorgan, UBS, a unit of General Electric Co. and a former subsidiary of Belgian bank Dexia SA have also reported in regulatory filings that they face civil suits by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies say they are cooperating with the government.
- “I had conversations prior to the bid with the broker about who the bidders were going to be and who was going to win or lose,” Campbell, the former Bank of America executive, told a federal judge when he pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, according to a court transcript.
Eight one-time bankers and financial advisers, including former employees of UBS, JPMorgan and Bank of America, have pleaded guilty in connection with the municipal bid-rigging probe.