Lawyers tussle over ‘financial conspiracy’ evidence in McCrudden case

Defense counsel for disgruntled former hedge-fund manager and commodities trader Vincent P. McCrudden will argue before a judge that he should be allowed to show evidence of financial conspiracy theories at his trial next week. McCrudden has been charged with “transmission of threats to injure” after sending vicious threats to 47 current and former officials involved in financial regulation.The defendant allegedly sent menacing emails and published “execution lists” on his website, targeting prominent figures like the SEC’s Mary Schapiro and the CFTC’s Gary Gensler.

McCrudden’s lawyer, Bruce A. Barket, says that he will contextualize his client’s rage with evidence that his statements are part of a broader mainstream political debate. Government lawyers, however, have moved to preclude evidence for this argument, insisting that “the defendant offers no logical connection between his threats to kill more than 40 people and the vague beliefs of unidentified members of an undefined group.”

The source of McCrudden’s most recent outburst was a 2010 enforcement action by the CFTC, claiming that the defendant was operating as an unlicensed commodity pool operator (“CPO”). The unregistered CPO fired back by posting an execution list on his website and and allegedly writing an email to Dan Driscoll of the NFA informing him that hitmen were on the way: “It wasn’t ever a question of ‘if’ I was going to kill you, it was just a question of when.” The email was signed “Gary Gensler”, but originated from Singapore, where McCrudden was living at the time.

The defendant has a checkered regulatory history. In 2000 he was accused of masking shortfalls at his hedge fund by doctoring account statements, and he was tried (but acquitted) for mail-fraud in 2003. In 2005 he was denied NFA registration because of his criminal past, and in 2009 FINRA found that he had convinced a hedge fund where he worked to report he left voluntarily when he was actually fired.

Read more about the McCrudden case.
Creative Commons License photo credit: ogimogi

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