Michael Coscia is a former commodities trader who was convicted on six counts of commodities fraud and six counts of "spoofing" in December 2015. In July of 2016, he was sentenced by a federal judge in Chicago to three years in prison, less than half the prison time sought by prosecutors. He lost a motion for a retrial in May of 2019.
Coscia was the first person convicted of spoofing after it was made a crime under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Spoofing carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Coscia, a resident of Rumson, New Jersey, made $1.4 million in just nine weeks on the CME in late 2011 by using his small trading firm, Panther Energy Trading, to put in huge orders for futures contracts that he never intended to execute and then filling smaller trades on the opposite side, in what prosecutors called a bait and switch scheme. Coscia used a high speed trading computer program he developed, moving prices for a few thousandths of a second, eventually yielded him more than $1 million over 2.5 months. The scheme resulted in losses to high frequency trading houses that were placing and executing orders at the same time.
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