Home / Markets News & Opinions / British Bitcoin Scammer Pleads Guilty for Defrauding US Victims of $50 Million

British Bitcoin Scammer Pleads Guilty for Defrauding US Victims of $50 Million

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:36 PM
Benjamin Vitáris
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:36 PM

By CCN.com: Renwick Haddow, the operator of the fake crypto trading platform Bitcoin Store and the fraudulent shared office space Bar Works, admitted to the charges against him with one of his fellow collaborators found guilty by US court.

According to the US Department of Justice  (DOJ), the British man and his accomplices caused victims a total of $50 million of damages.

Renwick Haddow aka. “Jonathan Black”

Before Haddow had started his fraudulent schemes in the US, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had disqualified the British man from managing a company in the European country in 2008 for scamming the publishers of the Cosmopolitan magazine.

The FCA had also sued Haddow, ordering him to pay £16.9 million ($21.19 million) for operating four investment schemes  — a farming operation in Sierra Leone and three carbon credit projects — that resulted in investors losing most of their money.

In an attempt to avoid negative publicity, the British man decided to use the alias “Jonathan Black” to hide his identity when operating Bar Works in New York.

Haddow hosted events throughout the world in cities like Hong Kong and Singapore using the Jonathan Black alias to mask his identity and promise between 12 and 15 percent annual returns to lure in investors.

His accomplices, including the British James Moore, helped Haddow in fabricating a fake financial background and past successes with startup companies that included creating pitch materials for investors that misrepresented the Bark Works CEO.

“James Moore was part of a ring of insiders who helped conceal that Bar Works was run by a known fraudster.  Innocent and unaware investors lost millions of dollars thanks to his contributions to the scheme.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who prey upon the investing public,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.

‘A Secure Way to Hold and Trade Bitcoin’

Haddow’s other fraudulent scheme, Bitcoin Store, was a crypto trading platform that had never functioned.


However, the British man presented the non-operating service as “an easy-to-use and secure way of holding and trading Bitcoin,” claiming that it had generated several million dollars in gross sales.

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bitcoin Store’s bank accounts received less than $250,000  in 2015 with none of the funds coming from the company’s customers.

Haddow used his residential address — without displaying his apartment number — for Bitcoin Store’s headquarters.

The British man is also facing charges from the SEC, including fraud and not registering the broker-dealer firm with the financial authority as required under federal laws.

Facing Serious Time in Prison

Haddow was arrested in Morocco in 2017 on an Interpol arrest warrant. The fraudster was extradited later to the US to face two counts of wire fraud charges — one relating to Bar Works and one relating to the British man’s Bitcoin Store scheme.

He had pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of wire conspiracy, facing a maximum of 20 years in prison for each charge.

US court had found Haddow’s accomplice, Moore, guilty of the charges against him. The British man faces a total of 40 years in prison for wire fraud and wire conspiracy.