CHICAGO, March 17 A former clerk at the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange was convicted of commodities fraud for
manipulating trades in the lean hog futures market to earn more
than $200,000, federal law enforcement officials said on Monday.
Nicole Graziano, 33, of Addison, Illinois, was found guilty
of four counts of commodities fraud on Friday after a four-day
bench trial before U.S. District Judge James Zagel in Chicago,
according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Between September 2009 and August 2010, Graziano submitted
at least 89 fraudulent trade cards to clearing firms, resulting
in $213,680 in illegal profits to her, the release said.
In delivering his verdict, Zagel said Graziano's scheme
resulted in an "almost unbelievable success rate" of 90 to 100
percent of winning trades for her own account, which would have
been impossible in an ordinary market setting.
The scheme damaged "the legitimacy of the exchange itself"
and hurt its customers, Zagel said, according to the release.
CME Group, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, did
not immediately respond to e-mails from Reuters seeking comment.
Graziano faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a
$1 million fine on each count. Zagel set sentencing for June 25.