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September 29, 2020

Statement on JPMorgan Settlement: Coming on Top of Two Recent Criminal Cases and 20 Years of Repeated Illegal Conduct, the DOJ Must Charge JPMorgan Chase, its Executives for Latest Criminal Activity


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Contact: Pamela Russell at 202-618-6433 or

Washington, D.C.  –  Dennis M. Kelleher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets, released the attached Report on JPMorgan Chase’s 20-year-long RAP sheet and issued the following statement in connection with media reports that the bank is negotiating a favorable settlement with the Department of Justice and banking regulators for its latest criminal conduct:

“JPMorgan Chase is reportedly on the verge of settling its third major criminal action in the last several years; this time for extensive market manipulation by the bank that went on for eight years, including apparently during the time when a prior criminal Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) was in effect. Yet, the Department of Justice and banking regulators are reportedly ready to let JPMorgan Chase settle this latest “criminal enterprise” for nothing more than a fine of $1 billion. While that is a lot of money to most companies, it is not to JPMorgan Chase. In fact, it is just a little more than 10% of what the bank made in the last three months of 2019 when it earned a total of $36.4 billion.

“Such a settlement would be grossly inadequate in light of JPMorgan Chase’s two prior multi-year criminal activities—one enabling Bernie Madoff’s $46 billion Ponzi scheme and one for rigging foreign exchange markets—and its 20-year-long RAP sheet that includes at least 80 major legal actions that have resulted in over $39 billion in fines and settlements. That RAP sheet, detailed here, reveals wide-ranging, predatory and recidivist lawbreaking—some admitted, some alleged—from 1998 through 2019.

“Allowing recidivist JPMorgan Chase to once again use shareholders’ money to pay a fine and de facto buy get-out-of-jail-free cards for its executives would amount to little more than a slap-on-the-wrist. At a time when all Americans can see how unequal and unfair justice in America really is, such a sweetheart settlement would make a mockery of the DOJ’s claim to “equal justice under law” and again confirm that the DOJ has a double standard of justice: one for the rich and powerful on Wall Street and one for everyone else on America’s Main Streets.

“In light of the egregiousness of the latest alleged criminal conduct, the bank’s two prior criminal proceedings, and its 20-year RAP sheet of repeated alleged or admitted illegal conduct, any DOJ settlement with JPMorgan Chase must include the following:

1. a full and complete public disclosure of all of the material facts and identification of all the people involved;

2. a guilty plea to criminal charges by the bank holding company;

3. a non-tax-deductible fine of not less than $3.64 billion or 10% of its 2019 earnings;

4. the imposition of an independent monitor who files public reports quarterly detailing the changes made by the bank to ensure such crimes never happen again;

5. limitations on the bank’s collateral activities; and

6. prosecution, personal monetary penalties, and industry bars brought to bear on the materially involved or responsible executives and officers.

“Anything less will send the message—again—that crime pays and that the DOJ and other regulators simply are not serious about punishing or deterring crime at Wall Street’s biggest banks.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit  

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