The fraudster behind a $50m bitcoin fraud which duped hundreds of investors around the world and dozens in the UAE faces up to 40 years in prison after confessing his role in the scam.
Briton Renwick Haddow was the mastermind behind a sophisticated criminal enterprise selling non-existent office space - known as Bar Works - and operating a fake Bitcoin trading platform. He was captured in Morocco in 2017 and extradited to the US.
He has agreed to co-operate with New York prosecutors in an attempt to reduce his sentence after learning he faced 20 years in jail for each count. He had initially refused to talk to investigators so he would not incriminate himself, according to court documents.
James Moore was part of a ring of insiders who helped conceal that Bar Works was run by a known fraudster"
In order to conceal his role as CEO of Bar Works, Haddow operated under the name ‘Jonathan Black', and hosted events around the world in Hong Kong, India and Singapore to lure in investors, promising them 12%-15% annual returns.
Haddow, a former accountant, had a long history of running investment scams and was banned as a director by British regulators before embarking on the Bar Works project. He was banned as a director by British regulators in 2008 after scamming the publishers of Cosmopolitan magazine.
Haddow's other business scams include a milk line, glow in the dark plastics, a hotel ownership plan and even an attempt to buy the world's oldest newspaper, UK-based The Observer.
Last year, the regulators ordered Haddow and others to pay £16.9m ($21.19m) for their roles in four unauthorised investment schemes, including a Sierra Leone farming operation and three carbon credit projects.
Another Briton, James Moore, 58, who brought in investors for the scams, was found guilty after a trial this month for colluding in the deception. He had received more than $1.6m in commissions for his part in the projects, according to a statement from US prosecutors.
"James Moore was part of a ring of insiders who helped conceal that Bar Works was run by a known fraudster," Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. "Innocent and unaware investors lost millions of dollars thanks to his contributions to the scheme."
The National previously reported that as many as 150 people from the UAE may have been caught up in Haddow's scam and stand to lose some $15m in total.
Haddow's sentencing date in the US court has yet to be scheduled.