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United States v. Navinder Singh Sarao


United States v. Navinder Singh Sarao
Court Docket No.: 1:15-cr-00075 (N.D. Illinois)

Court Assigned: This case is assigned to the Honorable Virginia M. Kendall, 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 December 1, 2023, the Court entered a preliminary order of forfeiture as to funds in the amount of $570,557.14. Additional information about this order is available below:

Notice of Forfeiture
Court Order - Preliminary Order of Forfeiture

Criminal Charges:  On November 9, 2016, Navinder Singh Sarao, 41, of Hounslow, United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of spoofing before U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall of the Northern District of Illinois.  Sarao was originally charged in a federal criminal complaint in the Northern District of Illinois on February 11, 2015, and was subsequently charged by a federal grand jury in a twenty-two count indictment filed on September 2, 2015.  Sarao was extradited to the United States on November 7, 2016.

As part of his guilty plea, Sarao admitted that during the period from at least January 2009 through at least April 2014, he used an automated trading program, along with other techniques, to defraud and manipulate the market for E-mini Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 futures contracts (E-minis), stock market index futures contracts based on the S&P 500 index, through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).  The E-mini S&P 500 is considered among the most widely traded financial products in the world.  Sarao admitted that he placed thousands of orders that he did not intend to trade, or “spoof orders,” to create the appearance of substantial false supply and demand and to induce other market participants to trade E-minis at prices, quantities, and/or times that, but for Sarao’s spoof orders, they would not otherwise have traded.  In thousands of instances, Sarao admitted, he was able to induce other market participants into buying or selling E-minis by placing the spoof orders, which had the additional purpose and effect of artificially depressing or artificially inflating the price of E-minis.    

According to the plea agreement, in instances when a market reaction occurred, Sarao frequently executed real, genuine orders to buy (typically at artificially low prices) or sell (typically at artificially high prices) E-minis.  He admitted that he frequently was able to generate significant trading profits from buying and selling his genuine orders close in time with the placement of the spoof orders.  As a result of his scheme, Sarao admitted that he was able to make at least $12.8 million in illicit gains.  

For more information about the charges, please see below:

Plea Agreement
Press Release

The information on this website will be updated as new developments arise in the case. If you have any questions, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at

Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that an indictment contains allegations only, and 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. 

Updated December 20, 2023