NY Court grants another “final” continuance in case against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow

Maria Nikolova

The parties have been engaged in protracted discussions about the possible resolution of the case.

There has been another continuance in the case taken by the US authorities against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow, although when the previous such adjournment was requested, the delay was supposed to be final. And yet again, earlier this week, Martin S. Bell, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, submitted affirmation in support of an application for an order of continuance of the time within which an indictment or information would otherwise have to be filed in the case.

On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein of the New York Southern District Court granted the request. Thus, the case is continued until April 12, 2019. The request is supposed to be the final one in this case.

Counsel for the defendant and the government are engaged in discussions concerning a possible disposition of this case, and expect to resolve it shortly. The negotiations have not been completed and the plan is to continue these discussions.

In June 2017, the charges against Renwick Haddow were unsealed. The criminal complaint charges him with two counts of wire fraud — one relating to the Bitcoin Store scheme and the other relating to the Bar Works scheme. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Under the allegations, Haddow, who is a citizen of the United Kingdom, from November 2014 through June 2017, solicited investments in start-up companies he created and controlled, including Bitcoin Store — a purported online platform for purchasing, selling, and storing the digital currency known as “Bitcoin”—and Bar Works, which purports to be a company that adapts former restaurants, bar premises, and other locations into co-working spaces. When doing so, Haddow made material misrepresentations about the management, operations, and historical performance of those companies.

For example, Haddow concealed his interest in Bitcoin Store and fabricated the purported “experienced team of leading investment professionals” working at the company. In connection with Bar Works, Haddow adopted the alias “Jonathan Black” to further hide his role in the schemes. He claimed that “Jonathan Black” had an extensive background in finance and had a role in setting up “Car Share,” a car-sharing app.

Haddow solicited investments through his control of InCrowd Equity Inc., which represented itself as a type of crowdfunding portal through which investors could purchase shares of start-ups supposedly vetted by InCrowd. He did so without disclosing to investors that he had an ownership interest in both InCrowd, on the one hand, and Bitcoin Store and Bar Works, on the other. Haddow also misappropriated without permission funds purportedly invested in Bitcoin Store and Bar Works for his own use and the use of others.

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