Much of the recent spoofing disciplinary activity has been coming from the CME. However, within the last two weeks ICE US Futures issued a disciplinary notice for "trade practice violations" and "Conduct detrimental to the Exchange" relating to placing of orders without intent to execute. The fact pattern is classic "spoofing" - large orders on one side and smaller on the other. Small orders execute and large order immediately cancelled. The question becomes "what are traders thinking"?
It should be noted, the disciplinary notice talks of a "pattern" of this behavior. We frequently talk to our clients about detecting patterns - one off occurrences may not be controlling.
I had a recent conversation with a client about this activity. I have been on the desk (I helped build one of the largest physical natural gas desks back in the 1990's) and had a competitor step in front of my bid. I raised the bid - they stepped in front again. By the fourth time I said "$%#@* this (or something equivalent), I will sell that price" and hit the bid. That is not spoofing. However, doing that 10 times a day starts too look less and less like I was responding to competitor pressure and more and more like I intended the result. Do it 10 times a day for a week and it is a pattern.
This becomes a question of when the pattern exceeds your compliance risk tolerance? That is the question that a good compliance program allows you to answer - when has this pattern become one I feel is too close to prohibited behavior and the explanation is too thin to accept? That is a question you should be able to answer.
The result in this case was a $15K suspension and a 9 week suspension from trading in the market. The full notice is here - https://www.theice.com/publicdocs/futures_us/disciplinary_notices/ICE_Futures_US_Brian_Soldano_20181205.pdf.