Attorney's bid to uncover investigations of JPMorgan quashed

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A federal judge today ruled that JP Morgan Chase Bank does not need to provide records related to any federal investigations of its mortgage-lending practices to a Downtown-based property attorney who is charged with fraud.

Arthur Smith, 64, of Point Breeze, faces wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and tax charges related to mortgages in which he played a role. He has sought to show that JP Morgan, which is technically the victim of the alleged crimes, was complicit, by demanding that it produce records of any federal investigations related to its practices in Western Pennsylvania.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer today granted the bank's motion to quash Mr. Smith's subpoena, but kept open the door for a more specific, narrower demand for records.

"Smith has not sufficiently identified specific evidence that is relevant and material to the charges," wrote Judge Fischer, adding that the records sought by the subpoena were not limited to the 64 mortgage transactions identified by prosecutors as criminal.

"Smith has not provided any proof that these documents even exist," the judge wrote. "He merely assumes these documents exist because JP Morgan is currently prominently featured in the media for settling for $11 billion with the government after being under investigation" in a series of probes nationwide.

Steve Stallings, the attorney representing Mr. Smith, said he'll continue to pursue evidence of a local, federal investigation into JP Morgan through requests from the government and potentially a narrower subpoena to the bank.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord

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