Five years for JPMorgan broker who gambled clients’ funds

Michael Oppenheim pleaded guilty in November of stealing more than US$20 million.

US.- Michael Oppenheim’s gambling activities began on weekly National Football League games started in 1993 and eventually moved to online sports betting. According to his lawyer, Paul Shechtman, after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars whilst working at JPMorgan, Oppenheim began stealing from clients and eventually began options trading in technology stocks like Apple Inc., losing as much as US$2.7 million in one day in a fruitless effort to pay back clients.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres said that she gave him less than the 10 years prosecutors sought due to his battle with gambling addiction and his care for his disabled daughter also noting that Oppenheim’s gambling intensified just months after the daughter was born. “I am cognizant that gambling is a mental disorder which is aggravated during periods of stress and depression,” she added.

Before he was sentenced, Oppenheim told the judge: “I recognize that what I did was horrible. I always thought I was one or two trades away from fixing everything. For me, one bet is one too many. If I were not in the grips of this addiction, I would not have stolen any money.”

Michael Fusco, a spokesman for JPMorgan explained: “We worked closely with authorities throughout this process and are glad that the criminal case has been resolved. We’ve been working with all affected customers to ensure that any stolen funds have been returned. Again, we’re sorry and angry this happened – for the victims of this crime, and for the thousands of other Chase employees who show up to work every day and do the right thing for our customers.”