In this Intelligence Report: Vincent McCrudden's surprise guilty plea comes on the eve of his trial after federal authorities found a hit list of Chicago executives.
Testimony was to begin Monday in New York in the government's case against the 50-year-old former trader. McCrudden believed that prosecutors would never prove he sent Internet death threats to the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and dozens of other U.S. financial agencies. But the I-Team has learned that federal investigators found evidence of a Chicago hit list that convinced McCrudden he was doomed.
Dan Roth was at the top of the Chicago hit list, according to federal authorities. The targets marked for death all worked in Chicago at the National Futures Association, a self-regulatory organization for investors and investment firms.
On Friday, U.S. investigators say they discovered a chilling post on the NFA's website archive. Last October, someone posted death threats against nine top executives of the National Futures Association. If the named Chicago targets were to be killed, the executioner would be paid 250,000 Euros per head. That is more than US$344,000.
The offer also promised double bonus pay for the kidnap and torture of veteran employees at the organization for more than 10 years.
The author behind the Chicago threats was controversial one-time New York trader Vincent McCrudden, according to federal prosecutors. The NFA had denied McCrudden's application in 2005.
Before the Chicago hit list surfaced, McCrudden believed the government's case was weak. Monday, he pleaded guilty to making the threats, including one against Chicago executive Dan Driscoll that stated "You're a dead man" and that his "body would never be found because it would be in little bits and pieces."
A spokesman for the National Futures Association said the organization would have no comment on McCrudden's guilty plea.
McCrudden has been in custody since December when he was arrested at a New York airport returning from Singapore, which is where federal investigators say the threats originated.