Former CME clerk gets 8 months for commodities fraud

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A former clerk for a Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader convicted of commodities fraud was sentenced to eight months in prison Wednesday.

Nicole M. Graziano, 33, was sentenced to eight months in prison by Judge James Zagel, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office. She was found guilty in March of four counts of commodities fraud following a four-day bench trial.

Graziano, of Addison and formerly of Roselle, was also ordered to pay $212,000 in restitution to various clearing firms on behalf of victim investors, according to the statement.

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, the release said.

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 in March.

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

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