A Bid to Salvage a Go-Go Legacy

Chicago's commodities guru pledges to clean up the pits

Leo Melamed had good reason to take on the role of a born-again reformer last week. Melamed, 56, guru of Chicago's go-go futures markets, was watching in dismay as federal prosecutors trampled on his legacy while they stepped up the pressure in the biggest fraud investigation ever to hit the commodities pits. The two-year FBI sting, which broke into the open in late January, intensified last week as investigators raked in evidence for a grand jury that will consider criminal indictments against dozens of brokers and traders for allegedly defrauding their customers.

Threatened with prison terms or other penalties, as many...

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