A few weeks ago the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed fraud charges against Renwick Haddow, a British citizen living in New York. On Wednesday the alleged Bitcoin Store scam operator was supposed to appear before the court for the first time, but it looks like he chose to remain in hiding.
U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield denied the SEC’s pending request for a preliminary injunction regarding an asset freeze on Haddow and his companies, according to Law360. “I’m not going to do that ex parte,” she said. “The temporary restraining order will remain in effect.”
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Haddow allegedly used sales representatives to cold call potential investors and sell securities in Bitcoin Store Inc. and Bar Works Inc. According to the SEC’s complaint, materials presented to investors in both companies touted the backgrounds of senior executives who do not appear to exist. The materials also misrepresented other key facts about both companies’ operations.
Haddow allegedly diverted more than 80% of the funds raised by the broker-dealer for the Bitcoin Store, and sent more than $4 million from the Bar Works bank accounts to one or more accounts in Mauritius and $1 million to one or more accounts in Morocco.
The SEC alleges that materials provided 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. In fact, the SEC alleges that Bitcoin Store has never had any operations nor generated the gross sales that it claimed.