When Don Wilson spotted a chance in 2010 to take another bite at a trade that had mostly eluded him as a younger man, he never expected he’d be defending his actions six years later in a Manhattan federal courtroom.
A former pit trader who rose from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to create the 700-person derivatives powerhouse DRW Holdings LLC, Wilson is a respected industry executive. Early in his career, the University of Chicago graduate with a toothy smile built quantitative models in the off-hours to guide his trading. That same methodical approach led him to assemble a group six years ago to determine if a pricing mismatch worth tens of millions of dollars was staring them in the face.
What happened next will be heard in a New York courtroom later this year after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused Wilson, 48, and his firm of manipulating markets and illegally earning $20 million along the way. Wilson is fighting the claims and has said he was simply buying an asset ahead of the market recognizing its true value, much like a trade he encountered earlier in his career.
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