New York, New York - Two former commodities traders of a New York, New York-based financial services firm have pleaded guilty for their participation in a $60 million commodities fraud and spoofing conspiracy that was perpetrated through the U.S. commodities markets. One of the traders also pleaded guilty for his participation in a second commodities fraud and spoofing conspiracy at another financial services firm based in Chicago, Illinois.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office made the announcement.
Krishna Mohan, 33, of New York, New York, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, commodities fraud and spoofing. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 28, 2019 before U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller of the Southern District of Texas.
Kamaldeep Gandhi, 36, of Chicago, pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 to two counts of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, commodities fraud and spoofing. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2019 before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. of the Southern District of Texas.
As part of their pleas, Gandhi and Mohan admitted that, from March 2012 to March 2014, they conspired with Yuchun “Bruce” Mao and others at the first firm (Trading Firm A) to mislead the markets for E-Mini S&P 500 and E‑Mini NASDAQ 100 futures contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and E-Mini Dow futures contracts traded on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Gandhi and Mohan further admitted that they and their co-conspirators placed thousands of orders that they did not intend to execute, or “spoof orders,” in order to obtain executions of other orders, or “primary orders,” at better prices, quantities and/or times than otherwise possible, to the benefit of the co-conspirators and Trading Firm A. Gandhi and Mohan further admitted that the United States has calculated that the scheme resulted in market losses of over $60 million.
Also, as part of Gandhi’s plea, he further admitted that, from May 2014 through October 2014, while employed at the second firm (Trading Firm B), he conspired with others to mislead the markets for E‑Mini S&P 500 futures contracts traded on the CME by agreeing to place, and himself placing, hundreds of spoof orders for E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts in order to create the false and misleading appearance of increased supply or demand. Gandhi further admitted that the United States has calculated that the scheme resulted in market losses of over $1.3 million.
The FBI’s Chicago Field Office is investigating the case. Trial Attorneys Mark Cipolletti, Jeffery Le Riche and Matthew Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Lewis of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement provided substantial assistance in this case and referred this matter to the Department.