BRADENTON, Fla. — The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked a federal court in Birmingham, Ala., to set a trial date for two former JPMorgan bankers facing charges related to municipal bond and swap transactions with bankrupt Jefferson County.
On Friday, the SEC said that the case against Charles LeCroy and Douglas MacFaddin has been delayed since 2009 at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, and then because of an unrelated criminal case against former CDR Financial Products Inc. senior vice president Douglas Goldberg.
CDR was the swap adviser to Jefferson County as it built a portfolio of derivatives during the issuance of nearly $3.2 billion of auction- and variable-rate sewer warrants sold to rebuild the region's aging sewer system under a federal consent decree. The sewer system financing was a major factor in the county's bankruptcy filing.
Goldberg will "assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination" until his own sentencing into the manipulation of bids on municipal bond contacts in March 2014, the SEC said.
In the three years since filing charges against the former JPMorgan bankers, 31 depositions have been taken and "hundreds of thousands of documents" have been exchanged in the discovery process, the SEC said, adding "there is no reason to delay this case any further. The case can and should proceed without Goldberg's testimony."
The SEC has asked that trial be set for February 2014.
In a joint motion calling the SEC's request "premature and contrary to the interests of justice," LeCroy and MacFaddin said it is still critical for them to depose Goldberg.
Critical information for trial will not be available if Goldberg asserts the Fifth Amendment during deposition, they said.
The SEC charged that LeCroy and MacFaddin made more than $8 million in undisclosed payments to close friends of certain Jefferson County commissioners and broker-dealers to ensure that JPMorgan would be selected as managing underwriter of the offerings, and that the firm's affiliated bank would be chosen as the main swap counterparty.
The SEC brought suit against the two bankers at the same time it settled securities fraud charges with the investment bank. Without admitting or denying the SEC's charges, JPMorgan agreed to pay $75 million in penalties and to forfeit more than $647 million of claimed swap termination fees.
The $75 million in penalties was collected by Jefferson County.