Illinois Court refuses to dismiss indictment against software developer in spoofing conspiracy case

Maria Nikolova

The Court, however, has reserved for trial Jitesh Thakkar’s request to redact the indictment.

A spoofing case targeting Jitesh Thakkar, the founder and principal of Edge Financial Technologies Inc., continues at the Illinois Northern District Court after the Honorable Robert W. Gettleman has refused to dismiss the indictment against the defendant.

The decision was announced after a motion hearing was held on August 22, 2018. The defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment with prejudice or, in the alternative, for in camera review of the grand jury transcript and to strike prejudicial language from the indictment, was denied as to defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of notice of the charges and on statute of limitations grounds. The court, however, reserves for trial defendant’s request to redact the indictment.

Pre-trial conference is set for December 18, 2018.

On February 14, 2018, Jitesh Thakkar, the founder and principal of Edge Financial Technologies Inc., was charged in an indictment filed in the Northern District of Illinois with one count of conspiracy to commit spoofing and two counts of spoofing. Thakkar appeared for his arraignment on the indictment on February 22, 2018.

The indictment alleges that between October 2011 and April 2015, Thakkar and his co-conspirators engaged in a conspiracy to engage in spoofing—that is, bidding and offering with the intent, at the time the bid or offer was entered, to cancel the bid or offer before execution—through the placement of thousands of orders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). The indictment alleges that Thakkar and his co-conspirators developed and delivered a customized software program that was used by Thakkar’s co-conspirator to engage in spoofing, including in the market for E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts (“E-Mini”) on the CME. The indictment further charges Thakkar with spoofing in the E-Mini market on or about February 25, 2013 and March 8, 2013.

According to the allegations, it was the purpose of the conspiracy for Thakkar and his co- conspirators to unlawfully enrich themselves by:

  • developing a customized, automated program designed to place certain orders into the market while mitigating the risk that these orders would be “hit,” or executed;
  • selling, delivering, and attempting to sell and deliver the customized automated program to traders, so that the traders can use the program to place orders into futures markets, including the market for E-Mini futures contracts, that they intended to cancel before execution.

Previously, on January 19, 2018, Thakkar was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy and spoofing offenses. Thakkar made his initial appearance on January 29, 2018 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason of the Northern District of Illinois and was released on bond.

The case is captioned USA v. Thakkar (1:18-cr-00036).

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