As a result of our work for the NatWest 3, Jerry approached Bell Yard to seek its support for continuing the fight against certain provisions in the 2003 Extradition Act.
In a case not dissimilar to the NW3, Jerry Crook was, until 2001, Vice-President of the European operations of Peregrine Systems, a US-headquartered technology company. Peregrine collapsed in 2002. In October 2004, unbeknown to him, Jerry was indicted in the US on fraud charges relating to Peregrine’s bankruptcy. His extradition from the UK was sought in 2006. Determined to clear his name and to uncover the supposed ‘evidence’ against him allegedly being held by US prosecutors, he attempted to waive his extradition rights and travel voluntarily to the US. He hoped to not be automatically labelled a ‘flight risk’ by the US Government, as are all those who exercise their constitutional right to contest extradition. However, the UK’s then Home Secretary refused to let him waive his rights, citing that extradition proceedings were already underway. This meant the CPS refused to hand him back his passport preventing his voluntary travel to the US, despite his decision not to contest the extradition request. He therefore was extradited by US marshals to San Diego, California in September 2006.
He was granted bail which required him to remain in San Diego, although he was allowed periodic short returns to the UK over the next 2½ years. After several trial delays coupled with the US prosecutor’s refusal to grant immunity to his witnesses thereby restricting his ability to mount a proper defence at trial (similar to NW3), the last straw for Jerry was undoubtedly the Department of Justice threatening to indict his main defence witness if she testified for him. So, like many extradites before him, and many after, Jerry felt compelled to plead guilty to one count of ‘wire fraud’ in February 2009. His ‘admission’ amounted to signing a contract with BT which others, not him, later used to manipulate the market.
In March 2009, San Diego newspapers reported that the U.S. attorney’s office dropped charges against the last remaining defendant in the Peregrine Systems case, a week after a jury could not reach a verdict in his case, resulting in a mistrial.
Jerry was finally sentenced in May 2009 to 27 months in custody plus a fine of $750,000 in restitution (despite there being no suggestion that Jerry personally profited from the contract).
The noteworthy result of this long-standing Peregrine Systems prosecution was that all four executives who took their case to trial in the US were eventually freed, as the trials ended with deadlocked juries. Fifteen former Peregrine officials entered plea bargains.
Jerry had to report to a US prison in Pennsylvania before 10 July 2009 to begin his sentence which he has now completed, following a prison transfer to the UK in 2010.