Winning a spoofing conviction is something of a feather in the prosecutor’s cap. It’s only been done twice in the 12 years it’s been illegal—which makes it at best a 50/50 bet when going to trial, far below the near-sure-thing level most representatives of the people are looking for before facing a jury. And so, when they manage it—by marshalling the somewhat fiddly evidence and turning a witness—they want to be rewarded for it. Preferably with a lengthy prison sentence for the convicted offenders. Say, five years, minimum.

So you can understand their ire when federal probation officials tell a judge that two former Deutsche Bank traders, adjudged by a jury of their peers to have gleefully manipulated gold and silver futures markets—a crime, mind you, that they worked very hard to prove, and one that cost other futures traders as much as nearly $1.5 million by the government’s somewhat self-serving calculations—should simply be entrusted to their gentle oversight without a day behind bars. For shame, U.S Probation Office! And this totally isn’t just about all of the aforementioned wasted time, effort, tears and sweat, no! If crimes whose actual costs may only rise into the four figures go thusly unpunished, why, the very foundations of the global economy—nay, society itself—are liable to fracture and collapse.

The government said in a court filing late last week that it “opposes, in the strongest possible terms,” the U.S. Probation Office’s recommendation that the two men not be imprisoned…. “If hard-won trial convictions are not met with serious sentences, there is a real risk that market manipulation crimes will not be prosecuted,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

Traders Shouldn’t Get Prison Time in Spoofing Case, Probation Office Says [WSJ]

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