Commodities Trader Arrested for Threatening to Kill Government Officials
Vincent McCrudden, a former commodities trader, was charged in federal court today with two counts of transmitting threats to kill 47 current and former officials of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), the National Futures Association (“NFA”), and the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).1 McCrudden’s initial appearance is scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
According to the criminal complaint, which was unsealed today, McCrudden sent several emails threatening violence against employees of the CFTC and NFA. For example, on September 30, 2010, he allegedly sent an email to an employee of the NFA stating that “it wasn’t ever a question of ‘if’ I was going to kill you, it was just a question of when. And now, that question has been answered. You are going to die a painful death.” In addition to sending threatening emails, the defendant posted threats on a website that he operated. On one of those website pages, the defendant invited others to “[g]o buy a gun” and take back the country and stated that he would be the first one to lead by example. On another page on his website, the defendant included an “Execution List” with the names of 47 current and former officials of the SEC, FINRA, NFA, and CFTC. That list included the Chairperson of the SEC, the Chairman of the CFTC, a former Acting Chairman and Commissioner of the CFTC, the Chairman and CEO of FINRA, the former chief of Enforcement at FINRA, and other employees of the NFA and CFTC. The defendant wrote that “[t]hese people have got to go. And I need your help, there are just too many for me alone.” Finally, the defendant posted a $100,000 reward on his website for personal information of several government officials and proof that those officials were punished. According to the complaint, McCrudden started making these threats shortly after the CFTC filed a civil enforcement suit against him in early December, 2010. The complaint alleged that McCrudden has been the subject of various enforcement or disciplinary proceedings at the NFA, FINRA, and the CFTC for several years.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment on each of the two counts.
“In this day and age, there is no such thing as an idle threat,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Those who threaten injury or worse to the lives of others will be promptly investigated and vigorously prosecuted.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois, for its cooperation and assistance in the investigation. Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is continuing.
Assistant Attorney General Breuer stated, “The Department of Justice takes very seriously the allegations in the complaint against Mr. McCrudden that was unsealed today. Threats of death and violence against federal officials and employees for executing their duties are simply unacceptable.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Fedarcyk stated, “Overt threats of the sort made by this defendant must be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. The threats were direct, extreme, and specific, vowing to kill securities regulators and encouraging others to do the same. The allegations, coming as they do during a period of national mourning in the wake of horrific violence done to public officials and others, are especially troubling.”
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Eastern District of New York Assistant United States Attorneys James McMahon and Christopher Caffarone and Trial Attorney Thomas Dukes of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. The Office of International Affairs in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division provided assistance in this case.
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