By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 1, 2015
Since December 2013 there have been a rash of unusual deaths among workers at JPMorgan Chase, including alleged leaps from buildings and two separate alleged murder-suicides in New Jersey. A noteworthy number of the deaths have been among technology workers. With the exception of Julian Knott, who was a high level technology expert for JPMorgan in both London and later at the firm’s high tech Global Network Operations Center in Whippany, New Jersey, all of the individuals were under 40. (See names and incidents below.)
Last Thursday, 29-year old Thomas Hughes allegedly took his life by jumping from a luxury apartment building at 1 West Street in Manhattan. According to Hughes’ resume at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), he had previously interned at JPMorgan Chase, as well as held jobs at Citigroup and UBS after graduation from Northwestern University. Hughes was employed at investment bank, Moelis & Company LLC, at the time of his death. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and UBS pleaded guilty to criminal felony charges for conspiring to rig markets the week prior to Hughes’ alleged leap from the building.
The fact that JPMorgan Chase holds an estimated $179 billion in life insurance on its workers, and in some cases, prior workers, whose death benefit pays to the bank not the family of the employee, has raised concerns of more than just trading conspiracies at JPMorgan Chase.
Now, according to Sarah Butcher at EFinancialCareers, at least two executives at JPMorgan have forbidden their technology workers from explaining exactly what they do at the bank on their LinkedIn profiles. One tech worker imagines that it’s a plot to restrict their ability to market their skills to prospective competitors as JPMorgan moves tech workers from the glitter of London to cheaper corporate digs in Bournemouth, England or Glasgow, Scotland. Says one worker, according to Butcher, “We’ve been joking that the plan is to make us technologists invisible in the market and then forcing us to move to Bournemouth or Glasgow.”
JPMorgan Chase could have other reasons for restricting information as to just what its tech workers are up to. There are ongoing lawsuits and investigations across Wall Street into the use of computerized trading to rig markets.
In his annual shareholders’ letter in 2014, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said the firm had “nearly 30,000 programmers, application developers and information technology employees who keep our 7,200 applications, 32 data centers, 58,000 servers, 300,000 desk-tops and global network operating smoothly for all our clients.”
According to Anish Bhimani, Chief Information Risk Officer at JPMorgan Chase, in an interview published at the Information Networking Institute (INI) at Carnegie Mellon, JPMorgan has “more software developers than Google, and more technologists than Microsoft…we get to build things at scale that have never been done before.”
One thing that JPMorgan has never before done in its 200-year history is to plead guilty to a criminal felony. That occurred on May 20 while the bank was still under a two-year probation and a deferred prosecution agreement for two felony counts in aiding and abetting the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. It’s certainly a bank worth keeping an eye on – from many levels.
Following are the names of individuals who, at the time of their death or previously, were employed by JPMorgan Chase and experienced unusual deaths since December 2013. With the exception of the Knotts, all of the individuals were under 40 at their time of death – a striking statistic.
Joseph M. Ambrosio, age 34, of Sayreville, New Jersey, passed away on December 7, 2013 at Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He was employed as a Financial Analyst for J.P. Morgan Chase in Menlo Park. On March 18, 2014, Wall Street On Parade learned from an immediate member of the family that Joseph M. Ambrosio died suddenly from Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
Jason Alan Salais, 34 years old, died December 15, 2013 outside a Walgreens in Pearland, Texas. A family member confirmed that the cause of death was a heart attack. According to the LinkedIn profile for Salais, he was engaged in Client Technology Service “L3 Operate Support” and previously “FXO Operate L2 Support” at JPMorgan. Prior to joining JPMorgan in 2008, Salais had worked as a Client Software Technician at SunGard and a UNIX Systems Analyst at Logix Communications.
Gabriel Magee, 39, died on the evening of January 27, 2014 or the morning of January 28, 2014. Magee was discovered at approximately 8:02 a.m. lying on a 9th level rooftop at the Canary Wharf European headquarters of JPMorgan Chase at 25 Bank Street, London. His specific area of specialty at JPMorgan was “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives.” A coroner’s inquest in London, which relied heavily on information provided by JPMorgan Chase, determined the cause of death to be suicide.
Ryan Crane, age 37, died February 3, 2014, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. The Chief Medical Examiner’s eventually ruled that the cause of death was ethanol toxicity/accident. Crane was an Executive Director involved in trading at JPMorgan’s New York office. Crane’s death on February 3 was not reported by any major media until February 13, ten days later, when Bloomberg News ran a brief story.
Dennis Li (Junjie), 33 years old, died February 18, 2014 as a result of a purported fall from the 30-story Chater House office building in Hong Kong where JPMorgan occupied the upper floors. Li is reported to have been an accounting major who worked in the finance department of the bank.
Kenneth Bellando, age 28, was found outside his East Side Manhattan apartment building on March 12, 2014. The building from which Bellando allegedly jumped was only six stories – by no means ensuring that death would result. The young Bellando had previously worked for JPMorgan Chase as an analyst and was the brother of JPMorgan employee John Bellando, who was referenced in the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ report on how JPMorgan had hid losses and lied to regulators in the London Whale derivatives trading debacle that resulted in losses of at least $6.2 billion.
Andrew Jarzyk, age 27, went missing in the early hours of March 30, 2014 after leaving friends at a supper club in Hoboken, New Jersey. His body was recovered from the Hudson River in Hoboken on April 28, 2014. According to police, there were no signs of trauma to the body. Jarzyk was employed at PNC Financial at the time of his disappearance. He had worked previously as a technology intern at JPMorgan.
The bodies of Julian Knott and his wife, Alita, ages 45 and 47, respectively, were discovered by police on July 6, 2014 at approximately 1:12 a.m. in their home in the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township. After a two-day investigation, police announced that they believed Julian Knott shot his wife repeatedly and then took his own life with the same gun. Knott had worked on JPMorgan computer networks in London since 2001, initially as a subcontractor for Computer Science Corporation and, later, IBM. Knott formally joined JPMorgan Chase at its London operations in January 2006 and remained there until 2010 when he transferred to JPMorgan’s large complex in Columbus, Ohio and rose to the rank of Technical Director of Global Tier 3 Network Operations. Knott was transferred again in 2012 and began work in JPMorgan’s high tech Global Network Operations Center in Whippany, New Jersey. Six months before his death he was promoted to Executive Director.
Michael A. Tabacchi, 27 years old, and his wife, Iran Pars Tabacchi (who also went by the name Denise) were discovered dead on Friday evening, February 7, 2015 in their home in Closter, New Jersey. Their infant son was in the home and unharmed. A text message from the home had been sent to the father of Michael Tabacchi asking him to come to the home, according to media reports. The father found the couple. On the very evening the bodies were discovered, before any autopsy had been performed, Bergen County, New Jersey Prosecutor John Molinelli characterized the deaths in a tweet as a “probable murder suicide.” Michael Tabacchi’s LinkedIn profile lists him previously as an Operations Analyst at JPMorgan with the current JPMorgan title of Associate.
Thomas J. Hughes, age 29, was found dead on May 28, 2015 outside his residence at 1 West St., Manhattan. A spokeswoman for the NYPD said his injuries were “consistent with a fall from an elevated location.” Hughes’ death came the week after JPMorgan Chase, Citi, and UBS each pleaded guilty to criminal felony charges of engaging in a conspiracy to rig markets. Hughes had worked for all three firms previously. He was currently employed at the investment bank, Moelis & Company LLC.