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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 13, 2018

British Citizen Extradited From Morocco For Defrauding Investors Of More Than $36 Million

Renwick Haddow misappropriated investor funds and made false and misleading representations to investors in Bitcoin Store, Inc., Bar Works Inc., and related entities he controlled

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that RENWICK HADDOW has been extradited to the United States from Morocco and is expected to appear in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York today.  HADDOW was charged by Complaint in June 2017 for engaging in schemes to defraud victims by making material misrepresentations and misappropriating investment funds in companies created by HADDOW called Bitcoin Store Inc. (“Bitcoin Store”) and Bar Works Inc. (“Bar Works”), as well as related entities HADDOW controlled.  In July 2017, HADDOW was arrested in Morocco on the basis of a provisional arrest warrant for participating in these schemes.

According to the allegations in the Complaint[1]:

RENWICK HADDOW is a citizen of the United Kingdom. From November 2014 through June 2017, HADDOW 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, among other things, 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.  HADDOW 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 agent brokers and through his control of InCrowd Equity Inc. (“InCrowd”), which represented itself as a type of crowdfunding portal through which investors could purchase shares of start-ups supposedly vetted by InCrowd.  HADDOW 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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RENWICK HADDOW, 49, has been charged 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 sentence of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the FBI and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has brought civil actions against the defendant, for its assistance.  Mr. Berman also thanked Moroccan Ministry of Justice, the General Directorate of National Security of Morocco, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, the United States Marshals Service, and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, and noted that the investigation is continuing.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vladislav Vainberg, Justin V. Rodriguez, Brooke E. Cucinella, and Martin Bell are in charge of the prosecution.   

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-122
Updated April 13, 2018