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Flash Crash Trader Sarao Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Spoofing
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Flash Crash Trader Sarao Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Spoofing

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Flash Crash Trader Sarao Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Spoofing

Navinder Singh Sarao, the British day trader accused of contributing to the 2010 Flash Crash, was allowed to return to his parents’ home near London’s Heathrow Airport after becoming the second person convicted of manipulating commodities markets by placing orders he never intended to fulfill.

Sarao, 37, extradited from the U.K. two days ago, pleaded guilty to spoofing and wire fraud Wednesday in Chicago federal court and agreed to forfeit $12.9 million in ill-earned gains from his trades. He was accused of making $40 million spoofing CME Group Inc.’s stock futures market over five years, including on May 6, 2010, when a trading frenzy briefly wiped almost $1 trillion from the value of American equities.

His case grabbed headlines around the world as people struggled to grapple with the idea that a single day trader -- often working from his bedroom in the house he shared with his parents -- could make so much money and wreak such havoc on markets.

Sarao’s plea came a year to the month after trader Michael Coscia was convicted of spoofing and commodities fraud by a Chicago jury in the first criminal trial after the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act made such activity illegal. In the same court, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission reached a settlement in October in its lawsuit accusing Igor Oystacher and his 3Red Trading LLC of spoofing, a form of manipulation that involves moving prices by placing orders without intending to execute them.

Sarao also agreed to pay a penalty of $25.7 million to the CFTC to resolve a 2015 civil lawsuit filed against him by the commission. That settlement, which must be approved by a judge, bans Sarao from trading derivatives.

He faces a prison sentence of as long as 30 years. In reality, that maximum sentence is more an indication of the severity of the alleged crimes than the actual sentence he would receive.

Full article on Bloomberg

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