Alleged British Bitcoin Scammer Extradited to US for Defrauding Over $36 Million
The FBI has announced on Friday that Renwick Haddow, a 49-year old UK national, has been extradited to the US from Morocco to face charges at the Southern District Court of New York. He is accused of defrauding more than $36 million from victims by making material misrepresentations and misappropriating investment funds in two companies, Bitcoin Store and Bar Works.
Haddow was arrested in Morocco under a provisional arrest warrant in July 2017 after the SEC filed fraud charges against him. He allegedly used sales representatives to cold call potential investors and sell securities in the two companies he controlled while hiding his involvement due to his shady past.
According to the SEC’s complaint, promotional materials presented to investors in both companies showcased senior executives who did not really exist, and misrepresented other key facts about the operations. Haddow allegedly diverted more than 80% of the in funds raised for Bitcoin Store, and sent more than $4 million from the Bar Works bank accounts to Mauritius and another $1 million to Morocco.
The materials presented to Bitcoin Store investors claimed it was “an easy-to-use and secure way of holding and trading Bitcoin” and had generated several million dollars in gross sales. However, the SEC alleges that this company has never had any real operations nor generated the gross sales claimed. In 2015, for example, Bitcoin Store’s bank accounts allegedly received less than $250,000 in incoming transfers, none of which appear to come from paying customers. Haddow adopted the alias “Jonathan Black” to hide his involvement and falsely claimed an extensive background in finance.
“As alleged in our complaint, Haddow created two trendy companies and misled investors into believing that highly-qualified executives were leading them to quick profitability. In reality, Haddow controlled the companies from behind the scenes and they were far from profitable,” Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, explained as the time.
Haddow has now been charged with two counts of wire fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison.