Commodities Trader Convicted of Threatening to Kill Government Officials
Earlier today, Vincent McCrudden, a former commodities trader, pleaded guilty to two counts of transmitting threats to kill more than 40 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”). McCrudden has been in custody since his arrest on January 14, 2011.
The guilty pleas 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 of the Department of Justice, Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Christopher Pappas, Acting Regional Director, Federal Protective Service (“FPS”).
The defendant admitted that he sent an email threatening to kill the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the NFA. Specifically, on September 30, 2010, the defendant sent an email with a subject line of “You’re a Dead Man,” in which the defendant told the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the NFA that he had hired trained assassins to kill him and that his “body [would] never be found” because it would be in “little bits and pieces.”
The defendant also admitted that he posted threats to kill more than 40 government and regulatory officials 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 more than 40 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 those individuals and proof that they were punished. McCrudden started broadcasting these threats over the internet shortly after the CFTC filed a civil enforcement lawsuit against him in U.S. District Court in Central Islip in early December, 2010. McCrudden has been the subject of various enforcement or disciplinary proceedings at the NFA, FINRA and the CFTC for several years.
“This defendant crossed the line when he directly threatened to kill public officials who were working to keep our financial markets fair and open, and invited others to join him. He thought he could hide in the shadows of the Internet and disseminate his threats and instructions. He was wrong. This office will not tolerate, and will vigorously prosecute, those who threaten to kill men and women who dedicate their lives to public service,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. 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.
“Mr. McCrudden made bone-chilling and graphic threats against dozens of public officials,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “As this prosecution reflects, the Department of Justice will act swiftly to identify and prosecute anyone who attempts to retaliate against public officials. Public servants must be able to carry out their duties without fear of being targeted.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Fedarcyk stated, “The conduct of McCrudden was way beyond mere speech. By his admission, he not only directly threatened to kill government and regulatory officials, but he also listed dozens of officials and offered a reward to others to kill them. This outrageous conduct is not only dangerous, but an affront to civil society.”
When sentenced by United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley, the defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Eastern District of New York Assistant United States Attorneys James McMahon and Christopher Caffarone, with the assistance 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 also provided assistance in this case.
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