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Possible criminal action for JPMorgan over Madoff

NEW YORK — Federal authorities are preparing to take action in a criminal investigation of JPMorgan Chase, suspecting that the bank turned a blind eye to Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

Reflecting the magnitude of the investigation, prosecutors and JPMorgan have held preliminary discussions about a deferred prosecution agreement, people briefed on the inquiry said.

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Such an arrangement would suspend criminal charges against JPMorgan in exchange for a fine and certain other concessions. JPMorgan has repeatedly said that “all personnel acted in good faith” in the Madoff matter.

The investigation, led by the FBI and the US attorney’s office in New York, centers on whether JPMorgan failed to alert federal authorities to Madoff’s conduct. JPMorgan served as Madoff’s primary bank for more than two decades.

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