US Govt confirms discussions are ongoing in criminal case against Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow

Maria Nikolova

The criminal case has not yet been indicted, the United States Department of Justice told the Court on November 7, 2018.

The United States Government has filed a brief Letter addressed to Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the New York Southern District Court on Wednesday, updating on the status of the criminal proceedings against notorious Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow.

As previously guided, the criminal case has not yet been indicted. The parties are engaged in discussions concerning a possible disposition of the case, the Letter said.

Most recently, on October 12, 2018, the Honorable James L. Cott, United States Magistrate Judge, ordered a 30-day continuance in the interest of justice based on the parties’ representations that such discussions are ongoing.

This marked the sixth order of continuance that has been granted in this case.

In June last year, 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 prison term of 20 years.

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.

Apart from the criminal case against Haddow, he is targeted in civil actions too. For instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is pursuing a civil action against him.

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