Former CME Clerk Convicted of Commodities Fraud

Nicole M. Graziano faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $1 million fine for each count

A former clerk for a Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader was convicted last week of commodities fraud for manipulating trades to make more than $200,000.

Nicole M. Graziano, 33, was found guilty on Friday of four counts of commodities fraud following a four-day bench trial before U.S. District Judge James Zagel, a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Prosecutors said Graziano was a clerk for a futures trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange --  now CME Group -- and secretly slipped in her own order tickets when submitting tickets for public customers on lean hogs futures contracts between Sept. 2009 and Aug. 2010.

She entered "favorable" prices for her own trades by giving herself low buying prices and high selling numbers, earning a total of $213,680 in illegal profits from at least 89 fraudulent trade cards, the release said.

Graziano ended up having a 90 to 100 percent success of winning trades, which is an "almost unbelievable success rate" for an account in a regular market setting, Zagel said while delivering the verdict Friday, according to the release.

Zagel also said Graziano’s actions tainted the CME group and hurt customers by taking away benefits they could have reaped, the release said.

Graziano, of Addison and formerly of Roselle, faces up to ten years in prison when she is sentenced June 25. She also faces a fine of up to $1 million for each count, the release said.

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