JPMorgan Chase (JPM) will pay $2 billion in penalties to settle charges that it ignored warning signs of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, according to multiple news reports.
The settlements with federal regulators and prosecutors could be announced as early as Tuesday, according to a Sunday report in the Wall Street Journal. Unidentified sources told the Journal that the majority of the fees would be directed to victims of Madoffs Ponzi scheme, who lost billions of dollars in the biggest financial fraud in history. JPMorgan Chase would pay more than $1 billion to the Justice Department, with the remaining fees going to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
JPMorgan Chase is also expected to reach a deferred-prosecution agreement with the United States Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York as part of the settlements, according to the Journal and the New York Times. The agreement would allow the company to avoid criminal indictment by meeting certain conditions prescribed by prosecutors.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment. JPMorgan Chase also declined to comment.
JPMorgan Chase served as Madoff's main bank for over 20 years. Federal prosecutors are expected to cite the company for violating the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires financial institutions to closely monitor and report suspicious activity, according to the Times.
JPMorgan Chase's fourth-quarter earnings will be released on Jan. 14. The company may have been motivated to finalize Madoff settlements before the earnings go public, according to the Journal.
The company reached a $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department in November related to the quality of the mortgage-backed securities it sold to investors in the years before the housing crisis.