Skip to main content

United States v. Jiongsheng “Jim” Zhao


United States v. Jiongsheng “Jim” Zhao
Court Docket No.: 1:18-cr-00024 (N.D. Illinois)

Court Assigned: This case is assigned to the Honorable John J. Tharp, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604.

Latest update: On February 4, 2020, defendant Zhao was sentenced to time served by the court.

Criminal Charges: On December 26, 2018, Jiongsheng “Jim” Zhao, a trader at a proprietary trading firm located in Sydney, Australia, pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of spoofing as charged in an information filed on December 18, 2018. The charges stem from Zhao’s placement of thousands of spoof orders for E-mini S&P 500 futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). As part of his plea agreement, Zhao also admitted that he made false statements to the CME during its earlier investigation into his trading activity.

For more information about the charges, please see below:
Plea Agreement
Press Release – January 29, 2018

Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served.

Crime Victims’ Rights Act and Right to Retain Counsel: The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged. Section 377I(c)(2) of this Act requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the statute specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the statute, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government may not recommend any specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you. Government attorneys represent the United States.

If you elect to obtain counsel to represent your interests, please have your attorney notify this office in writing at: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20530, Attention: Victim Witness Unit; fax: (202) 514-3708; or email: If you elect not to retain counsel to represent your interests, you do not need to do anything.

Plea Agreements: Please be aware that many criminal cases are resolved by plea agreement between the Department of Justice and the defendant. You should also know that it is not unusual for a defendant to seek to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide notice to you of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, please contact the prosecutor assigned to this case or call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at



Updated September 27, 2023