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JPMorgan Chase To Pay $1.7 Billion To Madoff Victims

Bernard L. Madoff in 2009.
Timothy Clary
AFP/Getty Images
Bernard L. Madoff in 2009.

After striking a deal with federal prosecutors, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to the victims of Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The bank will be criminally charged with two violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and will admit to the violations. But under the agreement, the bank will receive a deferred prosecution.

The U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York said the payment is the "largest ever bank forfeiture and largest ever [Department of Justice] penalty for a Bank Secrecy Act violation."

The deal is still subject to court approval.

Madoff, if you remember, was sentenced in 2009 to 150 years behind bars. He was found guilty of stealing about $13 billion from hundreds of investors.

As The New York Times notes, this settlement is "emblematic of a broader problem among giant global banks: ignoring the warning signs of fraud."

This case follows a $1.9 billion money-laundering settlement with HSBC, and it is the latest payout from Chase to the U.S. government.

The Times reports that before this settlement, JPMorgan Chase had already agreed to pay $13 billion to "the Justice Department and other authorities over its sale of questionable mortgage securities in the lead up to the financial crisis."

Update at 3:07 p.m. ET. $350 Million Civil Penalty:

Aside from the $1.7 billion, the Treasury Department said the bank will also pay a $350 million civil penalty, bringing the total amount to more than $2 billion.

Separately, the Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, announced that JPMorgan Chase had also settled two claims totaling approximately $543 million.

Reuters reports the bank will pay $218 million to settle a class-action suit and $325 million to settle claims filed by Picard.

Update at 10:59 a.m. ET. How Much Has Chase Paid?

Back in November, NPR's Emily Siner tallied up just how much JPMorgan Chase has paid or agreed to pay in fines during the past year. The total came to $29 billion, which means that if you add today's settlement, the fines will exceed $30 billion. To put it in perspective: JPMorgan Chase reported a revenue of $23.9 billion during the third quarter of 2013.

Here's Emily's breakdown of the settlements:

  • $13 billion: The investment company reached a settlement Nov. 19 related to its risky mortgage-backed securities.
  • $4.5 billion: Several days ago, the company agreed to pay investors — including 21 major institutions — for the faulty securities.
  • $1 billion: In September and October, it paid to end investigations into the botched financial transactions of traders in London that cost the company more than $6 billion.
  • $389 million:In September, the bank refunded money to 2.1 million credit-card customers and paid a fine after allegedly misleading and overcharging them.
  • $300 million: In September, it resolved an insurance lawsuit, splitting payment with Assurant Inc.
  • $410 million: In August, it settled allegations that it manipulated U.S. energy markets.
  • $842 million:In June, it agreed to forgive debt owed to it by Jefferson County, Ala., where the company's securities deals led to the county's bankruptcy in 2011.
  • $8.5 billion:In January, 10 banks, including JPMorgan, split a settlement related to wrongful home foreclosures.
  • $9.2 billion: The company's legal fees from its third quarter this year
  • $2.05 billion: In January of 2014, the company agreed to pay $1.7 billion to the victims of Bernard Madoff's multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. The bank also agreed to pay a $350 million civil penalty.
  • $543 million:In January of 2014, the company agreed to pay $543 million to settle a class action lawsuit and claims filed by the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
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    Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.