Government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase devised "manipulative schemes" that transformed "money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers," and that one of its most senior executives gave "false and misleading statements" under oath.
The findings appear in a confidential government document, reviewed by The New York Times, that was sent to the bank in March, warning of a potential crackdown by the regulator of the nation's energy markets.
The possible action comes amid showdowns with other agencies. One of the bank's chief regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is weighing new enforcement actions against JPMorgan over the way the bank collected credit card debt and its possible failure to alert authorities to suspicions about Bernard L. Madoff according to people who were not authorized to discuss the cases publicly.
(Read More: JPMorgan Court Win Changes Banks' Liability Picture)
In a meeting last month at the bank's Park Avenue headquarters, the comptroller's office delivered an unusually stark message to Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman: the nation's biggest bank was quickly losing credibility in Washington. The bank's top lawyers, including Stephen M. Cutler, the general counsel, have also cautioned executives about the bank's regulatory problems, employees say.
Mr. Dimon acknowledged in a recent letter to shareholders that "unfortunately, we expect we will have more" enforcement actions in "the coming months." He apologized for letting "our regulators down" and vowed to "do all the work necessary to complete the needed improvements."
Still, the broad regulatory scrutiny — at least eight federal agencies are investigating the bank — presents a threat to JPMorgan at a time when it is raking in record profits.
For executives, the bank's transition from model citizen to problem child in the eyes of the government has been jarring. It has helped drive top managers out of the bank, and it could make a coming shareholder vote on whether to split the roles of chairman and chief executive an anxious test for Mr. Dimon, long the country's most influential banker.
Given the bank's strong earnings, investors are unlikely to pull out. Yet a growing number of shareholders say they are concerned about the regulatory problems.
In the energy market investigation, the enforcement staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, intends to recommend that the agency pursue an action against JPMorgan over its trading in California and Michigan electric markets.
The 70-page document also took aim at a top bank executive, Blythe Masters. A seminal Wall Street figure, Ms. Masters is known for helping expand the boundaries of finance, including the development of credit default swaps, a derivative that played a role in the financial crisis.
The regulatory document cites her supposed "knowledge and approval of schemes" carried out by a group of energy traders in Houston. The agency's investigators claimed that Ms. Masters had "falsely" denied under oath her awareness of the problems and said that JPMorgan had made "scores of false and misleading statements and material omissions" to authorities, the document shows.
It is unclear whether the agency will file an action against JPMorgan based on the investigators' findings. A majority of the five-member commission must first endorse the case. If the regulator does proceed, it could fine the bank and Ms. Masters.
"We intend to vigorously defend the firm and the employees in this matter," said Kristin Lemkau, a spokeswoman for the bank. "We strongly dispute that Blythe Masters or any employee lied or acted inappropriately in this matter."
JPMorgan has until at least mid-May to respond to the accusations in the document. As the bank fights the energy investigation, it says it is trying to rectify other lingering compliance woes.
(Watch Now: JPMorgan New CFO on Earnings & Outlook)
Recent departures from the bank, however, could complicate that effort. Frank J. Bisignano, the co-chief operating officer known for cleaning up JPMorgan's troubled mortgage division after the 2008 financial crisis, announced his departure this week. Barry Koch, a senior lawyer with strong ties to law enforcement, is also expected to soon leave the bank, people close to Mr. Koch say.
Mr. Dimon's meeting with the comptroller's office last month further highlighted the bank's challenges with regulators.
In the credit card investigation, people briefed on the case said the comptroller's office had discovered that JPMorgan was relying on faulty documents when pursuing lawsuits against delinquent customers. The accusations, which are expected to prompt an enforcement action later this year, echo complaints that JPMorgan and rivals plowed through home foreclosures with little regard for accuracy.
In a separate investigation into JPMorgan's relationship with Mr. Madoff, the comptroller's office raised concerns that the company may have violated a federal law that requires banks to report suspicious transactions. Eventually, the people said, the agency could reprimand the bank for the potential oversight failures.