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JPMorgan settles Madoff fraud claims for $1.7 billion

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NEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase & Co., already beset by other costly legal woes, has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle criminal charges that the bank ignored obvious warning signs of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, federal authorities said today.

The $1.7 billion represents the largest ever forfeiture by a U.S. bank and the largest Department of Justice penalty for a Bank Secrecy Act violation, the government said. The settlement includes a so-called deferred prosecution agreement that requires the bank to acknowledge failures in its protections against money laundering but also allows it to avoid criminal charges. No individual executives were accused of wrongdoing.

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