Vincent McCrudden

Vincent McCrudden Credit:

Better safe than sorry, a federal judge concluded Thursday in deciding to keep a Long Beach financial manager behind bars while he awaits trial on charges of threatening the lives of federal regulators.

Vincent McCrudden, 49, is accused of encouraging others to hurt certain regulators in a Web posting and with threatening in an e-mail to kill an official of the National Futures Association. He has battled what he and his attorney call years of harassment by regulators.

An indictment accuses McCrudden, of Alnbri Management, of offering rewards on a website to anyone who hurts certain officials and also sending an e-mail to a National Futures Association official that described in detail how he would be tortured, killed and dismembered.

That bothered Judge Denis Hurley, even as he conceded that the government has not proven McCrudden sent the e-mail.

"To me, very strong evidence of what a person will do is what he says he will do," Hurley said. "If he's released, I have a fear he'll carry through on these threats."

Several of McCrudden's family members who were present in court reacted emotionally.

"Guilty until proven innocent," said one of his sisters, breaking into tears. "Why have a trial?"

Defense attorney Bruce Barket of Garden City said he'd appeal Hurley's ruling. He acknowledged that his client has a history of saying and writing angry and inappropriate things to financial regulators, but the e-mail wasn't one of them.

"The e-mail is very different from what he usually writes," Barket said. "It's articulate, well-written, there's no vulgarity. And it was anonymous."

On McCrudden's company's website, a biography of him veers into a frequently ungrammatical screed against the government. He tells readers that they "are the face of the new Al Qaeda! Civil disobedience can be a start for justice. Its us (middle class) against them (Government officials and the Bourgeosie)."

In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Caffarone said the e-mail was sent from Singapore, where McCrudden was visiting at the time, from the same location and about the same time that he called relatives on a phone using the same Internet connection.

Caffarone said McCrudden's threats against regulators kept escalating over the years.

"He hasn't acted out yet, but we're trying to prevent that," Caffarone said, noting that threats have continued even after warnings from FBI agents to stop. The court shouldn't wait for an official to be dead before deciding that McCrudden is a threat to society, Caffarone said.

Barket said there's never been an indication that McCrudden would act on his words. "He doesn't have that capacity in him," Barket said.

McCrudden is due back in court Feb. 18. Hurley said he will set a trial date then, and both sides said they expect the trial to be relatively quick.

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