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Futures Trader Receives Dubious Honor

Depending on how Michael Coscia looks at things.
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By National Park Service Photo by Rodney Cammauf [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Not thrilled to have name sullied.

On the one hand, it's always exciting to be the first person in history to achieve something. On the other, it's probably less exciting when that achievement is being the first person convicted on spoofing charges sentenced to time in prison. Still, prosecutors wanted Michael Coscia to go away for about double the time he received, so net/net, not as bad a day as it could have been!

A U.S. judge sentenced futures trader Michael Coscia to three years in prison on Wednesday, a lighter punishment than prosecutors had sought for the first person criminally convicted of the manipulative trading practice of spoofing. Coscia also was sentenced to two years of supervised release from jail, in a case that was closely watched by traders who want to avoid similar charges and market regulators. Spoofing involves placing bids to buy or offers to sell futures contracts with the intent to cancel them before execution. By creating an illusion of demand, spoofers can influence prices to benefit their market positions. Prosecutors had asked U.S. Judge Harry Leinenweber to lock up Coscia, owner of New Jersey-based Panther Energy Trading, for as long as seven years and three months after he was convicted last year of spoofing and commodities fraud.

First U.S. trader convicted of spoofing sentenced to three years in jail [Reuters]


Not Everyone Convinced Former Trader Meant "It Wasn't A Question Of If I Was Going To Kill You, Just Of When" In A Figurative Sense

A year or so a go, commodities trader Vincent McCrudden was arrested for some things he put on a company website and some emails he sent out. The former involved an "execution" list containing the names of a handful of financial regulators, which he asked readers to aid him in crossing off ("I need your help," he wrote. "There are just too many for me alone"). The latter included an email to a CFTC staffer that noted: “You fucking corrupt piece of shit! I have let so many of you fucking corrupt mother fuckers off the hook for doing this to my life. You my friend are not getting away with this. I am going to do this my way now and you, you corrupt mother fucking piece of shit are the first on my list! laugh mother fucker…I am going to make you a test case!” To that end, the chief operating officer of the NFA was told, “It wasn’t ever a question of ‘if’ I was going to kill you, it was just of when." Were these emails particularly colorful? Yes. Should anyone who received them (or had their name placed on The List) been actually worried about losing his/her life? McCrudden could see how maybe things might have been interpretted that way, but no. As he told a judge, “I wrote provocative language on my website that could have been perceived as threatening. I would never intentionally hurt or cause bodily harm to another human being." And yet, this is still happening: Vincent P. McCrudden, a former New York commodities trader, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison for threatening to kill federal financial regulators. McCrudden, 51, who pleaded guilty last year, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Denis R. Hurley in federal court in Central Islip, New York...McCrudden said he was being persecuted for fighting back against unfair regulatory actions that destroyed his career. In addition to trading commodities, he ran his own hedge funds...McCrudden’s legal and regulatory entanglements began in 2000, when he was criminally charged with masking shortfalls in statements to his hedge-fund investors. The government said he included in his results money he expected to get from a lawsuit after Sumitomo Corp. (8053) was accused of manipulating the copper market. Ex-Trader McCrudden Gets 28 Months in Prison for Threats [Bloomberg]

Prosecutors Want Jim Cramer-Endorsed Investor Lenny Dykstra To Do Thirty Months In Jail

They say that's the only way Dykstra* will learn that in our society, you can't rip toilets and other bathroom fixtures out of the floor and sell them to a pawn shops just because you feel like it, or drop trou for the cleaning staff.