Ex-U.S. trader gets 28 months in jail for death threats

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2012 7:38 PM
Ex-U.S. trader gets 28 months in jail for death threats

By Jonathan Leff

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former commodities trader was sentenced to 28 months in prison on Friday for threatening to kill dozens of U.S. officials at the nation's top securities and commodity regulators, including posting a 250,000 euro ($327,382) bounty on Facebook.

Vincent McCrudden, 51, was accused in January 2011 of posting an online "execution list" of officials, including Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler.

McCrudden pleaded guilty last July in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, New York, to two counts of transmission of threats to injure.

The sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Denis R. Hurley includes nearly 13 months of time served, said Sarita Kedia, one of McCrudden's lawyers. He had faced up to 10 years in prison.

"It's less than what was recommended by the government. We're satisfied that the judge really considered the matter and sentenced him appropriately," she said.

McCrudden was employed on Wall Street for more than 20 years, working his way up from a New York Mercantile Exchange floor broker to running trading desks specializing in commodities, derivatives and foreign exchange, according to his biography on the website of his firm, Alnbri Management LLC.

Federal prosecutors said he began a five-year campaign of threats and harassment after becoming "enraged" in 2005 after the National Futures Association denied his application to trade futures on behalf of others. That denial came two years after he had been acquitted of mail fraud, they said.

He wrote "vulgar and threatening" emails, letters and public posting to public officials including those at the SEC, CFTC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the National Futures Association, authorities said.

"Go buy a gun, and let's get to work in taking back our country from these criminals," McCrudden allegedly wrote, in a statement calling for the four regulators to be abolished. "I will be the first one to lead by example."

Visits by the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service failed to stop the threats, which escalated in the later part of 2010, authorities said. Using an alias, McCrudden posted on Facebook an offer to pay 250,000 euros to kidnap, torture or kill a number of NFA officials, prosecutors wrote.

Even in prison, McCrudden has continued to pen angry letters. A letter in March accusing the court of corruption "proves not only a lack of remorse but also a lack of rational impulse control on the defendant's part," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch argued in the government's sentencing recommendation.

McCrudden's lawyers wrote to Judge Hurley to apologize for the letter, saying he has spent the majority of his 15 months at a prison in Queens, New York, in "lock-down" and has received only two visits from his fiancée and children.

"It has been an extraordinarily stressful environment for Mr. McCrudden, who has never before been incarcerated," they wrote. "Thus we apologize on his behalf for any statement in the letter that may have been perceived as an attack on the court."

(Reporting By Jonathan Leff; Editing by Paul Simao)