A panel of the Business Conduct Committee of the New York Mercantile Exchange found that, from April 18, 2012, through December 10, 2012, Jon Ruggles, a nonmember and former trader for Delta Airlines, traded two accounts of his wife, Ivonne Ruggles, relying on confidential information of his employer in a manner that disadvantaged it.
According to the BCC, on 82 instances during this time period, Mr. Ruggles either initiated a new position opposite his employer’s account, offset an existing position opposite his employer’s account, or front-ran orders ultimately placed for his employer’s account. The BCC found that Mr. Ruggles “was not authorized at any time to execute trades between the employer’s account and the commodity trading accounts of his wife.”
The BCC concluded that, during the relevant period, Mr. Ruggles accumulated profits in excess of US $3.3 million as a result of his unauthorized trading.
As a penalty, the BCC imposed a fine of US $500,000 against Mr. Ruggles, ordered disgorgement in excess of $2.8 million, and imposed a permanent CME Group all-products trading prohibition. The BCC did not order disgorgement of the entire amount of his alleged illicit profits because it noted that CME Group exchanges did not have the requisite authority to impose such a sanction on a nonmember until August 20, 2012.
Ms. Ruggles failed to appear for an interview requested by NYMEX staff in connection with the trading of her husband. In response, the BCC imposed a permanent CME Group all-products trading ban on Ms. Ruggles too. (Click here to access an article in the June 16, 2014 edition of Fortune describing trading and other activities by Mr. Ruggles.)
Totally Irrelevant (But Is it?): I hate footnotes in legal articles. My view has always been that if the text is important, include it in the body of the article; if it’s not important, don’t include it at all. However, much legal writing uses footnotes interchangeably both as depositories of very important information and very irrelevant information, as well as information that simply is not well explained. To me this is very bad practice and mandates a careful perusal of all footnotes (no matter how tiny the font) to all legal articles to see if anything important is buried there. (Click here to access a wonderful parody of lawyers’ writing style, include their use of footnotes, in the article, “The Common Law Origins of the Infield Fly Rule” in a 1975 edition of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.) Footnotes were not used in the NYMEX disciplinary notice related to Mr. Ruggles’s alleged wrongdoing, but buried in the “Penalty” section of the notice was an ominous reference to another potentially pending legal action again Mr. Ruggles – this one by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. According to the BCC, “[t]he Panel found that if Ruggles reached a settlement with the CFTC that included disgorgement of profits or should he be required to disgorge profits pursuant to a Court order, a dollar-for-dollar credit for the amount that Ruggles pays to the CFTC in disgorgement shall be credited against the disgorgement amount ordered by the Panel.” Foreboding?