Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee and 13 Members of the California Congressional Delegation, released the following letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest bank, for alleged fraudulent schemes that resulted in $83 million in overcharges to Michigan and California for energy purchases.
The letter comes after an article in The New York Times cited an unreleased Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report alleging that JPMorgan, "under pressure to generate large profits," used deliberately "manipulative schemes" to fraudulently overcharge the state of California
"If true, such manipulation harms every Californian by raising our energy costs and impeding our state's efforts to balance its budget," the letter reads.
"The allegations are very troubling and I urge the Department of Justice to investigate thoroughly," said Ranking Member Waters. "If they prove to be accurate the Department should prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."
"To ensure that California's energy markets are free of fraud and abuse, and that no individual or company is above the law," the California Congressional delegation urges the U.S. Department of Justice to "conduct a thorough investigation," the letter continues.
The letter was signed by the following members: Representatives Maxine Waters, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Brad Sherman, Julia Brownley, Loretta Sanchez, John Garamendi, Jim Costa, Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Jackie Speier, George Miller, Jared Huffman, and Anna Eshoo.
The full text of the letter is below.
June 13, 2013
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
We ask that the Department of Justice investigate the increasing number of allegations related to JPMorgan and the manipulation of California's and other energy markets, which may have raised electricity prices by $83 million. In addition to an action against certain energy market traders, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff may also recommend a civil action against a senior executive of JPMorgan for making false claims under oath about the alleged manipulation. If true, such manipulation harms every Californian by raising our energy costs and impeding our state's efforts to balance its budget.
These claims, which were highlighted in a recent New York Times article, follow the FERC's unprecedented action to ban JPMorgan's energy division for six months from energy trading after finding that JPMorgan staff made factual misrepresentations and omitted material information in its communications with the operator of California's energy grid.
To ensure that California's energy markets are free of fraud and abuse, and that no individual or company is above the law, we urge you to conduct a thorough investigation into whether our energy prices have been manipulated.