In 2018, crypto boss Gerald Cotten left behind a fortune worth up to $215million in Bitcoin, and other digital currencies.
Crypto world was shocked by the sudden death of the 30-year-old from Crohn’s disease complications. However, many believe that he may have feigned his death in an elaborate exit scam.
Cotten carried with him the keys to the grave that granted access to the digital vault that contained the cash of his investors, which they had invested in trading platform Quadriga CX.
The firm kept his death secret for over a month before finally announcing it. It was discovered that he had used millions of investors’ money to fund his lavish lifestyle.
He lived a jet-set life and travelled the globe on yachts, in private jets, and investigators took photos of his cash pile on the kitchen table.
Quadriga CX left its 76,000 investors with $215million (CAD).
Criminal probes continue by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the FBI as leading digital investing publication Coindesk branded his death as the ‘crypto’s biggest mystery’.
We have just revealed the biggest crypto scams in the world following the case Raes Cajee (21), and Ameer (18) who fled South Africa, allegedly after taking PS2.5billion.
What happened to Cotten? Is he still alive and able to access a mountain of stolen crypto currencies?
Many speculate that his death was a clever scam and have called for his body to be exhumed to prove this.
Just two weeks before Jennifer Robertson and he went to India on their honeymoon, his will was signed.
He named his wife executor of his estate and left behind a $9 million real estate empire, a Cessna plane, and his yacht. His two dogs were also left $100,000.
Robertson was not accused of any wrongdoing and denied knowing about her husband’s business dealings.
Cotten also took flying lessons, which could have been a preparation for a life on the move.
It is rare for a single executive to have access to a company fund. This further complicates the situation surrounding Cotten.
Cops suspect that Quadriga CX is a Ponzi scheme. Cotten would create fake accounts under the pseudonym Chris Markay to ‘buy’ Bitcoins for his customers using fake cash.
Only two people really know what happened to India
Sheona McDonald, film director
According to Ernst & Young, he would then use the crypto to invest on other digital exchanges. He also provided his own funds at the expense his investors.
Cotten, despite his appearance of being calm and neat, was discovered to have a history in financial frauds – beginning as a teenager.
According to Amy Castor, he is suspected to have been involved in Ponzi scheme frauds since he was 15 years old. This includes playing a part in the pre-crypto digital tokens eGold.
Cotten, who died in 2008, was recast as a scammer who enjoyed the thrill of convincing his customers and investors.
However, the tech genius didn’t have to do it. Being a crypto enthusiast early on, he would likely have made a lot of money without having to scam people.
His descent into crime was either out of pure greed or a desire to thrill.
It is believed that he took $115 million in crypto from his personal accounts and placed it into high-risk financial bets, many of which failed, which cost him more than Quadriga ever made.
The matter was further complicated by the revelation that Michael Patryn, the co-founder of the company, is actually Omar Dhanani. Omar Dhanani had been previously convicted in the US for identity fraud.
The mystery surrounding Quadriga is still being solved by the Feds and Mounties, as well as amateur sleuths, investigative journalists, and the FBI. But the real question remains: What happened to Cotten?
The Indian authorities issued his death certificate and it contains incorrect spellings of his name.
DIG HIM UP
Furious investors are continuing to fight a legal battle for Cotten’s exhumation as they believe that his death was a cut-and-run scam.
Cotten’s widow has not spoken out publicly in a while, but she has stated in an affidavit that she was subject to’slanderous remarks’ after being accused of making false accusations about her husband’s death.
Robertson denied knowing of her husband’s wrongdoing and returned $9 million to the company in 2019 to repay users.
Quadriga and Cotten are now being investigated by Dead Man’s Switch, podcast Exit Scam, and A Death In Cryptoland.
Aaron Lammer, Exit Scam host, told CoinDesk that Gerry was addicted at some level to scamming.
“Addicted to stealing other people’s money. This was more of a gambler’s high than a wealthy guy’s high… As he sought more money from other people, the stakes increased.
He said, “We thought that we were looking for a rich man who had stolen money. Now, either [Cotten] is dead or, if he’s still alive, he’s an addict to gambling who’s broke.”
Lammer believes that the evidence suggests that Cotten died suddenly after having suffered from Crohn’s disease for many years.
Sheona McDonald, director of Dead Man’s Switch, said that only two people really know what happened to India.
Quadriga has been able to collect around $34million and Cotten’s estate $12million, respectively. However, the rest of the crypto world is still locked up in the digital realm of crypto.