JPMorgan Chase, the target of multiple Justice Department investigations, tentatively agreed to pay about $2 billion to resolve probes into whether it ignored warning signs about Bernard Madoff's crimes, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The bank also assented to a deferred prosecution agreement, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. In such deals, the government agrees not to prosecute for a specified period and charges are dismissed if the entity improves its programs and complies with the law. The talks are in their final stages and the accord could be announced before year-end, the person said.
Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 57, is seeking to resolve government probes that have beset JPMorgan, while overhauling internal controls to improve relations with regulators. Wall Street firms including JPMorgan have spent years fighting off claims brought on behalf of Madoff's victims, including accusations that the companies ignored the con man's fraud to continue reaping fees.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been investigating how New York-based JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, handled funds controlled by Madoff, whose multibillion- dollar fraud was the biggest Ponzi scheme in the nation's history. James Margolin, chief public information officer for Bharara's office, and Peter Donald, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, declined to comment.
Bloomberg News reported in October that a deferred prosecution agreement was among options the U.S. had discussed with the bank. The New York Times reported on the tentative $2 billion accord late yesterday. The deal includes more than $1 billion in penalties to resolve the criminal case, with the rest imposed by federal regulators investigating gaps in the company's money-laundering safeguards, the newspaper said, citing people briefed on the case.
Joseph Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman, declined to comment.
The firm listed at least eight Justice Department probes in a quarterly filing last month, ranging from the Madoff inquiry to investigations of hirings in Asia and its energy-trading practices. Weeks later, the firm agreed to a record $13 billion settlement to end government investigations of its mortgage-bond sales.