US Court sentences Australian trader accused of spoofing to time served

Maria Nikolova

The Illinois Northern District Court issued a sentence of time served to Jiongsheng “Jim” Zhao.

The sentencing of Jiongsheng (“Jim”) Zhao, an Australian trader accused of spoofing, was held on February 4, 2020, at the Illinois Northern District Court.

The Honorable John J. Tharp, Jr. imposed a sentence of time served on the defendant. The Court terminated the order of pretrial release and any bond conditions against the defendant, effective immediately.

As FinanceFeeds reported, the US Government sought a sentence of one year and one day imprisonment for the defendant with credit for time served in United States and Australian facilities.

According to the charges, from at least 2012, Zhao was employed as a trader at Trading Firm A, which was a proprietary trading firm located in Sydney, Australia and elsewhere. As a trader at Trading Firm A, Zhao traded futures contracts, including the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

The US authorities alleged that, as a part of Zhao’s spoofing conduct, beginning in approximately July 2012 and continuing through approximately March 2016, he devised, implemented, and executed a trading strategy involving E-Mini S&P futures contracts in which he entered large-volume orders he intended, at the time he placed the orders, to cancel before they could be filled by other traders and which were transmitted to the Globex electronic trading platform that operated on a CME Group server.

On January 29, 2018, Zhao was arrested by the Australian Federal Police and remanded into custody pending extradition. On November 19, 2018, after his extradition to the United States, Zhao made an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim. In December 2018, Zhao pleaded guilty to spoofing charges.

Importantly, for sentencing, the defendant chose to cooperate shortly after his extradition from Australia to the United States. He met with the government and provided valuable information in connection with the government’s ongoing investigation. Based in part on the defendant’s cooperation, on January 21, 2020, the government entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the defendant’s former employer, Propex, to resolve criminal charges related to the defendant’s unlawful trading activity.

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