“Lawyers blowing the whistle on issuer clients might be “rewarded” with state bar investigations for possible breaches of their duty of confidentiality”
On Tuesday (Sept. 24), the Wall Street Journal reported that JP Morgan was offering the government $3 billion to settle (paywall) an unspecified number of criminal probes after the Department of Justice threatened to file suit in an investigation of its pre-crisis mortgage dealings. Yesterday, it reported that regulators are looking for something like $11 billion in compensation (paywall), including $7 billion in penalties and $4 billion in consumer relief.
These numbers are still in flux, but depending on how many cases the payment resolves, it would likely be the largest single-bank payout in the history of financial regulation, supplanting HSBC’s $1.92 billion money-laundering penalty.
But despite the conspicuous nature of the announcement, JPMorgan is still admitting only to non-scienter-based charges under Sections 13(a) and 13(b)(2) of the Exchange Act. Basically, the bank should have made more accurate public filings and had better internal controls. Serious issues, for sure, but a long way from fraud-based charges…