Investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed today to a $410 million
fine to settle charges that it manipulated electricity markets in California and
The fine includes $124 million in profits that the company will surrender to California, where the bulk of the market manipulation took place, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced.
The fine was announced a day after FERC released a formal notice that it had found JPMorgan had engaged in eight different "manipulative" trading strategies designed to gouge ratepayers in California and the Midwest.
The violations took place in 2010 and 2011, FERC said.
FERC said JPMorgan "admits the facts set forth in the agreement, but neither admits nor denies the violations."
The case has drawn nationwide attention, leading some observers to believe the electricity market in California remains as vulnerable to manipulation as it was during the energy crisis in 2000-01.
But the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state's transmission grid and alerted FERC to JPMorgan's actions, has said the case shows how quickly regulators are now able to police market mischief.
(c)2013 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
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