Exit Scams and Ponzi Schemes. Mystery of Gerald Cotton and Quadrigacx. Exclusive details on exit scams and ponzi schemes uncovered in our investigation ways to identify an exit scam, how to identify an exit scam and gerald cotten and quadrigacx. We get insider info from someone who used to employ gerald cotten and speak to expert brett johnson. We discuss Ways to identify an exit scam, how to id an exit scam…in light of the lessons we learned from Quadriga Cx, Jennifer Robertson And Gerald Cotten.
A dead CEO, mysteriously stricken ill at the young age of 30. Pulling back the layers of deception which enveloped his death raise more questions than answers. Subject of a netflix documentary and multiple articles and podcast discussions. We uncover exclusive details and share all the details with you.
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Exit Scams and Ponzi Schemes. Mystery of Gerald Cotton and Quadrigacx.
[00:00:00] Today we're gonna talk about a true cyber crime story that I am just been blown away by cuz I still can't believe it hasn't been solved. Right? It is the story of exit scams and Ponzi schemes and lessons we can learn from the Gerald Cotton Mystery and the Quad Rodriguez CX Mystery. And for those that don't know about it, there are massive amounts of in investigative journalism, podcasts out there.
[00:00:30] People that have spent years investigating this as well as a phenomenal, there's like two or three really good documentaries on it. One of them's on Netflix, so check it out. It's like a death in crypto land or, trust no one. There's some phenomenal stories. I mean, what we're gonna talk about really is kind of, what was it?
[00:00:51] What was Quad Rodriguez cx? What happened to all this investor money? Who were the people behind it? Jerry, Gerry Cotton, it's c o t t e n, and he had founded QuadrigaCX. So Mark, walk us through for the listeners and for the viewers, what was it? Yeah, for those not familiar.
[00:01:11] , QuadrigaCX is actually was owned by Quadriga FinTech Solutions was the owner operator, and at the time, they were believed to Canada's largest cryptocurrency. In 2019, the exchange ceased operations, the company filed for bankruptcy, except they had 215 million in liabilities and about 28 million in assets.
[00:01:38] That's insane, right? Yeah, yeah. I mean, so, so that, that's investor money, that was like single moms, families, retirees, all wanting to ride the wave of the crypto currency boom. Right. Back then, especially, Bitcoin, which had soared to like really large, really large numbers. Right? It was, it was the [00:02:00] largest, exchange in, in all of Canada.
[00:02:02] Wow. Okay. So let's talk real quick about what happened to that money and then we're gonna get into the characters behind it because, there's, there's a whole theory behind this kind of collapse that that is, that this really was an exit scam from the very beginning. And that, what alleged to happen really, really didn't happen at all.
[00:02:25] So,, like you mentioned the, in 2019, I think the exchange kind of shut down, right? Kind of , stopped. They had, they had a hundred, I think 115,000 customers. That's, that's a ton. Yeah. That's money even missing. They could not access it. Yeah. And so let's keep in mind, during this time, they were taking in millions of dollars of investor money.
[00:02:46] Right. And the way they were doing it is, they had, created this, currency exchange, this, this cryptocurrency exchange, meaning you wanted to buy Bitcoin and you lived in Canada. Where would you do it? We would get online. And QuadrigaCX was the biggest one. And what was really significant about this one is it had aligned itself with like anti-fraud agencies.
[00:03:10] So it gave it a like stamp of approval, almost like government authority, like this is a safe place to invest in. And nothing could have been farther from the truth. And during that time, I mean, they were, they held themselves out taking. Hundreds of thousands of dollars from individual investors as well as millions of dollars overall.
[00:03:32] And they kind of held themselves out as like the Nasdaq or like the stock exchange. Right. Almost like a Charles Schwab or a TD Ameritrade. And Yeah, they actually, at one point they tried to get, they tried to raise the money and get listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. Right? Exactly. And then they bailed on that right away.
[00:03:52] Yep. Which is kind of interesting. And when you find out the people behind it, you'll, you'll, it'll all start to kind of [00:04:00] come, come to light. So where it really kind of took off was back in, 2017, the massive speculative frenzy from Bitcoin, right. Raised the price of Bitcoin back in 2017, from $1,000 for one Bitcoin to over $20,000.
[00:04:19] So think about that, right? I mean, you throw in five grand, all of a sudden you had a hundred grand. Like that's a big deal, right? It went up 20 times. That's big, big, big money. and some of the weird stuff that they were doing behind the scenes is really telling so well, you know, and then in, in 2018, that's when the Bitcoin prices kind of took a crash and customers were trying to get their money out.
[00:04:46] Exactly. And that's how all of this came to life. They withdrew money. And that, that started, they started this. Yeah. So they, they had delays in people getting money. There was problems with the processing. accounts were frozen by the Canadian and Imperial Bank, of Quadriga and that's when they made a statement.
[00:05:04] They issued a statement whenever they said the ownership of the money. They connected directly to Cotten and not anybody else, but they couldn't really determine who the owner was. Right. And then Rodriguez said it couldn't access the phones. Right. And what else was weird growing? Yeah. And check out this picture.
[00:05:24] So this picture is a picture of Jerry Cotten and his wife Jennifer Robertson's home. And there's millions of dollars of cash just strewn about on their kitchen island right now. These are the people that controlled the currency exchange. So what's significant about that is this, in 2018, like you just said, when Bitcoin prices crashed, customers wanted to get their money out, right?
[00:05:49] But they couldn't. And customers reported delays when attempting to withdraw dollars. The website would kind of spool and then time out. They weren't able to[00:06:00] complete it. And one of the unusual things that would happen is Gerald Cotten and Quadriga would liquidate investor funds. This is through the years, and they would cash it out at ATMs.
[00:06:11] They would cash out these ATMs and they would have backpacks worth of cash, hand delivered to the homes. And we'll hear later from, from somebody that used to be Gerry Cotten's boss, as well as the other founder of this exchange on, exactly how much cash, a backpack holds, right? Mark, do you remember that conversation with Brett Johnson, who, the Secret Service termed the Original Cyber Crime Godfather.
[00:06:37] Then that really is kind of one of the telling stories here. So as that cash flow stopped, let's walk people through kind of what happened as that cash flow stopped. CX shut down. Right. And then there were a bunch of court filings. So the Canadian Imperial Bank, in January, 2018, they said, like you just mentioned, they couldn't de de determine who actually owned some, some of the funds.
[00:07:00] And then there were several suits, right. Suits brought in the United States by the New York Attorney General and then the US Security Exchange Commission. All kind of like looking at it as, as tracking down the investor money or who was actually managing it. But walk us through that. They, they had this kind of weird teller window system.
[00:07:20] Oh. Can you us tell us about that? The high strangeness of everything. So Quadriga used, a really unusual teller-like window for customers to withdraw their money and instead of paying the customers, like via bank wires, told to come to some non-descript building in Laval, Quebec to pick up the cash, what the customers explore.
[00:07:42] Once they arrived there was nobody in the office or that there was no cash to be dispersed. Yeah. That was, that was their disbursement mechanism. So what they quickly configured was that the funds probably actually were never invested in what, what did they do with the money? Right. What happened to the money after it went in?[00:08:00]
[00:08:00] That's just crazy. I, I know there's been a ton of analysis done here. I know that chain analysis took a look at the blockchain. There was a lot of groups that looked at the blockchain and they found that when, what's supposed to. Right. And walk me through this cuz you've, you, you have more experience in this than me.
[00:08:16] But what's supposed to happen is you go to these exchanges, you invest your hard-earned savings, and there's a record in blockchain of the trade. Right? If, if I see in my account with Quadriga that I just invested $10,000, I own $10,000 worth of Bitcoin, right? My account between me and Quadri will say, I own $10,000 of Bitcoin.
[00:08:39] And as Bitcoin goes up, it says I have more money. Right? And as Bitcoin goes down, it says I have less money. But it's not like a regulated stock or option or bond. Right? This is blockchain, this is cryptocurrency. So the actual exchange would've happened on the overall blockchain and all of the investigation that occurred after this whole thing went down and collapsed, is that those trades never happened.
[00:09:05] So basically what it was is it's like you and I. creating a site called The BRANDOLOGY Exchange. Right. And people would give us, and we'll say, you wanna buy Bitcoin, buy it through the BRANDOLOGY Exchange. And they would give us millions of dollars and we would give them BRANDOLOGY bucks. But in their account it would say, you own Bitcoin, you own millions of dollars of Bitcoin.
[00:09:26] Here you go. And as Bitcoin went up, it would show that it's going up accordingly. Right. Or as Bitcoin went down, it was showing, it was going down accordingly. Oh, but wait, if you wanna take your money back out, we're not letting you. Yeah. Right. Right. Or come come to come meet us at a building somewhere.
[00:09:44] Building. Yeah. It really, really, with Stranger, once you start looking at some of the players involved, now you've mentioned Gerry Cotten a couple times. This is where it gets interest, Gerry. So, yeah, go ahead. You wanna, you want, you wanna tell? I don't, this is, this is the part I of the story that I'm, I want to hear [00:10:00] about.
[00:10:01] So I'll tell you, this is really where it got interesting for me and, and you know, By having some of these other discussions with some of the other guests that we've had on the show. We've seen and found out information that has not been on any other podcasts or other documentaries. There are things that, like the Netflix documentary didn't even talk about, and they had in investigated people, talked to hundreds of people.
[00:10:23] In one podcast, they actually flew out to India to this, to this place and we're gonna tell you right now why that, why that matters. So Gerald Cotten was born May 11th, 1988 in Belleville, Ontario. It's like two hours outside of Toronto. And he attended the, Schulich school of Business at York University in Toronto.
[00:10:44] His parents, Bruce and Cheryl ran a business selling antiques and collectibles right off the main highway, normal folks. And while they kind of did that traditional, you know, selling of vintage jewelry and furniture, Jerry really was a tech nerd. He really focused on, on new digital things. And he graduated from York, got a bachelor's degree and his career really took off.
[00:11:05] Right? And it was, it's really one of those stories of like the internet nerd turns tycoon, right? He was a small town Canadian boy who kind of had that Midas touch and he would do a lot of public speaking. He had, he had founded this and, and all of this was, was really. It, it led to the credibility of why they got to get their exchange right, approved by like the anti-corruption Association of Canada, and that really gave them credibility and tied with that perfect storm of Bitcoin rising.
[00:11:39] It really led to them being the biggest one out there. And he learned that he had learned about Bitcoin back in Toronto and he traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, where then he finds he, he, he founds Quadriga back in November, 2013, so that's fine, right? Great story, but who did he found it with [00:12:00] and what was he doing before this?
[00:12:03] Well, when you investigate Gery Cotten and I implore everybody, go Google him. Like, check this out. Right? To understand his, his mindset, we gotta understand his, his partner, his co-founder, right? His co-founder was Michael Patryn but Michael Patryn isn't Michael Patryn so we've got Gerry there's Gerry, Michael, Patryn and a whole bunch of money.
[00:12:26] Gerry, Jennifer, there's the Quadriga logo and right there, let's check this out. So there have been several interviews, that we've, investigated and, and Michael Patryn swears that he is, Michael Patryn that's the only person that he's ever been. But the court records and the legal documentation does not support that.
[00:12:46] He is actually, he was actually born as Omar Dhanani okay? Guy on the left is the convicted felon who was part of Shadowcrew, the original Black market marketplace, right? The dark web marketplace that Brett Johnson used to run. Okay. The original cybercrime godfather. And we're gonna play an interview that we had a segment of that with Brett Johnson, where he explains Omar Dhanani and Gerry Cotten.
[00:13:17] So when Beanie Babies were a thing, this was a long time ago, and some of the, some of the viewers and listeners may not recall, but these were, highly collective bull, highly valuable, and sometimes very expensive, basically stuffed animals. It was like but certain elephant, right? Yeah. Like, yeah, they came in certain colors.
[00:13:33] The blue elephant was one that was worth like thousands of dollars. Well, what Brett figured out was that he could get a gray one at like the dollar store and just dye blue, blue , and now he's got the blue elephant and he can sell it for a whole bunch of money on eBay. And that was kind of the genesis.
[00:13:52] And, and the lesson Shadow Crew greatly evolved from there. But I always, I always had to giggle a little bit when I think about the genesis of shadowcrew. But [00:14:00] so, no, they were, they were responsible for numerous online cyber crimes is the reason they got the name that they were and operated freely, op openly and excessively on the dark web.
[00:14:13] That's who they were. Yeah. And one of the things that they would sell online were fake death certificates. Fake IDs, not only just in, in, when we, when we play Brett's segment, which we'll do here in just a second, we're, we're gonna e explain that it all had to do with like the dead baby method. There was this whole method that they found from some movie back in the day, right?
[00:14:39] And, and that was the impetus for it. What they, what they're able to do is get the social security numbers from children that had died years before and UPS, and, and take those over because they hadn't been registered with the Social Security Administration. And then they were able to, to do that. They were also able to sell fake death certificates and, which is why so many people believe, right?
[00:15:02] It's logical to believe this was an exit scam from the beginning. An exit scam means we are gonna create an entity, take in a bunch of money and walk away, right? We're gonna say that we died and get a new identity. And walk away with all the money that we took. That's an exit scam. It happens all the time, as outrageous as it sounds.
[00:15:27] It happens all the time. And here's, here's why. What was the lesson that Brett Johnson talked about? About that blue elephant? Yeah. What he learned, ladies and gentlemen, is that when you do a scam like that, if you just delay enough, most people will never tell law enforcement because they're embarrassed.
[00:15:50] Just like most people, when they invest money and they lose it, they won't tell, they won't report it to people, right? Because they're embarrassed. And [00:16:00] most people are embarrassed to say, I bought this blue elephant trying to be greedy, or trying to make some investment and some Beanie Baby, and I got this dumb little blue thing.
[00:16:09] I reached out to the guy 10, 12 times. He never responded back. So I walked away. , right? That's what the lesson is that founded Shadow Crew on, is that the human behavior of giving up of, of, I don't want people to know how stupid I feel I was. Right. Keeps them from, from doing it. And this is a lesson that Gerry Cotten learned when he was doing the same thing as a child.
[00:16:37] He created these websites that would sell E-GOLD. He would take in money. There's like three or four instances of this, and he would take in money and then shut down the website and issue statements to people saying, we are sorry, the exchange has closed. We're all done. So Mark, before he even founds Quadriga, he had done this a couple times and he had worked with this guy and he had been part of Shadowcrew.
[00:17:05] So you see how the mentality and everything was all set up right. All in the beginning. So, He goes on, he continues to, build this. And then, you know, eventually he , goes and he meets Jennifer Robertson. Okay. And there's been a lot of people saying she was in on this. Okay. I I'm gonna, I'm, it's logical to think that because she did stand to inherit a lot of money.
[00:17:33] But I'll tell you my view, my personal view is I don't think she was, I think she was one of the people that he burned. Okay. And maybe he told her right at the end and just said, I'm going away. Goodbye. We're done. And maybe she's heartbroken, but he set it up so that the kids will always be paid for.
[00:17:52] Right. And he'll leave her millions of dollars. But, you know, let's, let's, let's talk about their relationship just real quick. They, they met back in [00:18:00] 2014, when Jennifer Robertson swiped right on Tinder for Gerry Cotten's Tinder profile. And, and you know, I think it's significant, the timeline because it supports her innocence.
[00:18:11] Right? She wasn't around at the founding when Gerry and Michael Patryn okay, yeah. Were talking and founded this. She wasn't around. She came in afterward. He had told her I work in Bitcoin, and as that rose in value, right? He was like doing speaking engagements.
[00:18:28] He was in the local news, like people were like, this young tech wiz kid is phenomenal. Meanwhile, his only tech wizardry was, you know, exit scheme, pon Ponzi. Right? And, and for those that, you know, I, I think we, we've heard the phrase what a Ponzi scheme is this, you, you take in money and, and in the segment that we're gonna play, right now for you from, from Brett Johnson he'll, he'll, he'll kinda walk you through it.
[00:18:52] But look, a Ponzi scheme is where you take in. The money, right? Assume like people believe it's a legitimate cause. You take in the money and then you steal the money. I mean, that, that's it, right? And then as, as a percentage of those people want to get their money back, you keep taking in new money and then you pay the percentage of the people that are, that are wanting to withdraw their money cuz they, because this, the fake stock went down or whatever, and, and, and you just pay them back.
[00:19:21] But you've stolen the core amount, right? You've taken a hundred million and 5% of those people wanna withdraw. But you keep taking in 10 million, 10 million, 10 million, you go ahead and you, you pay those people back with the new money that you get. The problem with the Ponzi scheme is when the new money dries up because you've already spent and stolen the core amount.
[00:19:43] And that's what happened here. Like what Mark just explained, when Bitcoin crashed, they did a run on the bank. They did a run on the exchange, they wanted their money back, he didn't have it. Right. And not only didn't he have it, but he had to find a way out cuz he knew he was going to go down and go to prison.[00:20:00]
[00:20:00] Because he had taken millions of dollars from people they had, they had met. Now according to Jennifer, this all kind of came to fruition, right? The exit scam kind of hits on December 9th, 2018. So Bitcoin's taken a dive throughout the year. And so what happens is Jennifer and, Gerry Cotton take a honeymoon right south of France.
[00:20:27] Now, during the, during the years before, you know, during that Bitcoin, rise, they had boughten like. Multimillion dollar homes in like investment properties. Mark, they had a plane that they bought, like always going to the best restaurants, traveling all over the world. There are pictures of them all over the place.
[00:20:47] We have a couple of them here that, that will, that will share with people. This is Gerry in his, I look like Simon and Garfunkel look without any intelligence. There's the cash again. Here's Jennifer. Right right around the, the time when they met , and this is the place that they, that they went to.
[00:21:06] They went to this place. It's, it looks like a plaza. It's, it's supposed to be like a mecca. It's in this tiny little town in India. Right. That's where they're, they plan their honeymoon in India in a little town. Okay. All that money, you can go anywhere you want. And that's where they went. And they had right in the year or two before they had traveled all over the world.
[00:21:29] South of France. Right? London, like all these places. Right. So for your honeymoon as a jet setting, multimillionaire, you choose a little town in India and not just any little town. We'll hear from Brett Johnson about how that town is notorious for being able to be a haven for identity theft. Meaning you want a new identity.
[00:21:56] You go to that town in India. Oh, [00:22:00] you go, you want a death certificate, you want medical records that can show something so that you can have a fake, social security claim and collect money, or you need the medical records for it. They'll get 'em for you. Wait, and this is the same guy that went to prison for identity theft.
[00:22:16] Yeah, it was. And now he's there. No, he didn't go there. That's Michael Patryn.. Okay. This is Gerry Cotten. Okay. Omar? Yeah. Omar. Omar, Dhanani. He's not there. He's not there in India. In fact, he had dropped out. The reason he didn't get indicted when all this came, came about is because he actually had cashed out of Quadriga before the crash.
[00:22:44] Oh. So he went on, he went on and did something else. In fact, you can go look him up. He's on the, he's on the run. They think he's in Thailand right now because he was like the CFO of another exchange called Wonderland. This is years after this event. And had hadn't told anybody about his about his past.
[00:23:02] And then when they found it out, they kind of got rid of him. And so he has, he has millions of dollars in in, his crypto wallet. And he's kind of hiding out over in Thailand, probably probably with Jerry Cotton. Right. That's, that's what a lot of people believe. So what's really odd is, is that so that, that picture that we're shown right here, this, this picture right here, that's of the hotel.
[00:23:27] It's called the The Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur, India, and Chapur is the town that is notorious for identity theft, being able to buy fake medical records, things like that. It's, it's a really, really odd place and it's a red flag of the many that we've Right, right, that we know about here. But it's a really odd place to go take your honeymoon when you can travel and have been traveling together, Jerry and Jennifer, all over the world.
[00:23:56] It makes no sense, but it's not an odd place if you want to [00:24:00] disappear, if you want the exit scam to happen, it's the perfect place. So, they go and, he allegedly dies at this time. So what we know, , is that this place, like I mentioned, is notorious for it. But here, check this out. Mark, investigative journalists, two of them right, researching this case actually went to that town.
[00:24:22] The India, yeah. They flew out there. They went there and the one that it's known for getting fake IDs and stuff like that. And they spoke to doctors and people there, and they even tried to obtain a fake death certificate. And guess what, what happened? They did, they got a fake death certificate. They only had to talk to one guy.
[00:24:43] They asked around, where can I get this done? They go, you go talk to that guy. They, they, they got one guy, it cost him $200 American, and by the end of the day he walked out of there with an official death certificate. Wow. Like official, like it's recognized in the United States, it's recognized all over the world.
[00:25:04] That's how easy this is. Right? That is the shocking part of this. So at some point, right, Gerry Cotten allegedly dies. Okay. Jennifer Robertson claims, that she a accompanies him to a hospital in jet. Right? On December 8th, he was diagnosed with these, these stomach issues, right? Shock, Peron, in intestinal obstruction.
[00:25:31] And on the ninth, he allegedly dies of Crohn's disease. Okay? He was 30 years old. So everything I say sounds more and more ridiculous, right? Yeah. He's 30. He dies of a disease that only an extremely rare. Cases, does anybody die of Crohn's disease? Right? Yeah. He also had never been hospitalized for it or had any weird whoa.
[00:25:59] [00:26:00] All of a sudden on the day they're in this weird town, right? Like on their honeymoon and it's only them together. Does this allegedly happen? It makes no sense at all. It defies logic. It gets better though. So check this out. What happens two weeks before that? Two weeks before that, Gerry Cotten bought two URLs for towns in India for a police department and for the town in India for a mortuary.
[00:26:29] And Brett Johnson, wait a minute, two weeks prior to his death in this small town that's notorious for fake IDs, death certificates, whatever, he had bought two URLs Yes, for a police station, for a mortuary funeral home. Yeah, you can't make this stuff up, man. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And then it gets better. Two weeks before, guess what else he did?
[00:26:50] He created his will leaving millions of dollars to her, to Jennifer. Right. So and then on the day of this alleged death, right? Here's what happened. Someone on behalf of Cotten, right. Gerry Cotten nobody knows who. They contacted a doctor that was later interviewed on one of these documentaries and podcasts that are out there, which we, we will throw lists of all of the different resources and all, all the stuff in a, in the show notes, check out those documentaries.
[00:27:18] They're really bizarre. Like just to, it's, there's people that have flown out there, they've been investigating this for years. Why? Because people lost their life savings from this idiot. Right? Right. And they contacted the, the, the doctor that had been called by someone, right? He had been contacted by someone and they had wanted him to do a death certificate.
[00:27:40] Right of Gerry Cotten, but the body was at a hotel, not at a mortuary, a morgue or a hospital. And so he refused. He's like, I'm not gonna do that. It's over at a hotel. Bring it over to the right actual morgue and then I can, then I can go and see the dead [00:28:00] body and do that. They, they wanted it done remotely, which is weird because I thought he died at the hospital and at the hospital.
[00:28:06] Why is he at the hotel? Like some of the stuff just makes no sense whatsoever. His body was, according to the death certificate, his body was emboldened at a medical school unsupervised and not at a mortuary or at a funeral home. Oh, okay. Where it's regulated and then it was all closed casket. No human being has seen his body since it's died other than allegedly Jennifer.
[00:28:33] How convenient. And it was transported back to Canada in a closed casket where they had a funeral, a closed casket funeral, of course. Right. And there's never been an autopsy. There are attorneys for the victims who lost millions of dollars who have filed suit asking for the courts to do an autopsy, because if you do an autopsy, at least then, you know Yeah.
[00:28:55] Is the body even in the casket? Is there a body, is there anything in that casket other than a big smiley face? Right, right. And plane tickets to Thailand, like what's in there? That's never been approved. Like it's still has never been done. So literally no hu single human being has done. But on December 10th, there was a death certificate issued by Jaipur India.
[00:29:20] Okay. The local municipality. Right. Which is known for having created fake ones. And, it's just, it's just shocking. The will had been signed on Dec on November 27th, 2018, 12 days before he allegedly died. And in that will it left Jennifer Robertson, the entire 9.6 million estate named her as the trustee.
[00:29:42] And that estate included an airplane, a sailboat, a 2017 Lexus real estate in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, a hundred thousand dollars trust fund, which was made to provide lifelong care for Jerry Cottons to Chihuahuas in case they put the Chihuahuas in his will. [00:30:00] Yes. And then that's good planning, I guess, , of course.
[00:30:02] And then it gets weirder too. They don't tell anybody that he's dead, so they wait 30 more than 30 days after he formally dies. Right. Not for him to get away and to accomplish the new identity he got into fly over to Thailand or whatever. Right? No, not for that. But they, they don't tell anybody. And Quadriga CX continues to take in new investor money.
[00:30:30] Wait a minute. After he's dead, they don't tell anybody, but they continue to take more money. Exactly. Day. Yeah. Day after day. And like I said, I don't think Jennifer herself was, was involved, at least in the beginning. And I, I have questions around whether she was involved at the yet. Right. She told CBC, the Canadian Broadcast Company of their national publication, that she knew nothing of the widespread fraud that, Gerry Cotten had.
[00:31:00] That later was found when Ernst & Young did the audit. And when other investigators, found out that he had. Been playing with, he'd been using it as his own slush fund the entire time. She said, I hadn't understood how Quadriga had held money in the first place. I thought it was just a trade.
[00:31:17] There were many things about Quadriga that I did not understand. I mean, in the beginning, right when, when she first met Jerry, she was involved in processing some funds, right? Acting as a funnel for customer money on behalf of Quadriga right? So, and then in the months that followed, investigators uncover the cotton had been moving money from the exchange to his personal accounts and engaging in other bad behavior, right?
[00:31:45] And she's just kind of had enough. She goes, I just hate all the questions. It, it seems like I should have known. And she told this to CBC's Andrew Chang. He said, look, I've already said it a million times. I don't know. I'm tired of defending myself for something I didn't do.[00:32:00] she's never. Yeah. And look, dude, she's never been under investigation.
[00:32:03] She's never faced any criminal charges. So I've gotta think if there was some evidence there, they probably would've done it. They probably something. Right? Right. And I'll tell you the kicker, the reason why I kind of think she was duped in somehow, right? Was that after his death and after all the claims and all the lawsuits and the investigations, the FBI got involved, the Canadian Mounted Police got involved.
[00:32:26] After that she agreed to forfeit 12 million in assets to the, to the claims. Oh, really? She gave it back. Yeah. That and that included vehicles and real estate. She was allowed to keep $90,000 in cash, $20,000 in retirement savings, a 2015 Jeep Cherokee, $15,000 in furniture and some jewelry, which included her wedding.
[00:32:50] That's not unreasonable. Not, it's not like she's living like a millionaire. It's not unreasonable. No. She got 90 and 20,000 in retirement. What'd you say? A 2015 Jeep . Yeah. So again, it wasn't until January 14th, 2019, like more than 30 days after he allegedly died, that they announced Quadriga formally announces that Gerald Cotten had died the month prior from Crohn's Disease, and they claimed while doing volunteer work at an orphanage in India.
[00:33:18] Oh yeah, of course. So sad. Yeah, right. You know, really, really kind of amazing. So it's like the end of Quadriga there. But I mean the, it's, it's still raised a couple issues and let's, let's listen to Brett Johnson's segment now.
[00:33:34] Robert Mitchum film. Yeah, and I think Charles Loft is the director of that. But , if no one's ever watched that film, it's an old black and white movie. It is an absolutely amazing movie. So please all your listeners look up Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum. It is amazing. There we go. , there is no financial involved.
[00:33:54] We're none. None. We're not financially tied in any way nor obligated to send them any funds for [00:34:00] this endorsement. . Exactly. We're neither endorsed nor affiliated with the . So, okay, so let's, let's switch gears real quick. Michael Patryn, Omar Dhanani michael Patryn. What was his role in Shadowcrew? His role in Shadow Crew was a money launderer
[00:34:19] there are a couple of, cryptocurrency has a couple of precursors, and those precursors are E Gold and Liberty Reserve. Both of those, those payment systems are payment systems that are pretty much built for criminal activity. You, because as a criminal you can't really buy credit card data or child pornography or anything else with US dollars.
[00:34:42] You need some way to pay for this stuff online, and that was the advent of E-Gold. As E Gold gets indicted, the, the, the, the owners of that Liberty Reserve pops up and I believe the Liberty Reserve guy is still on a United States Most Wanted list someplace. Those were the precursors of today's crypto.
[00:34:59] The only thing that was missing was the blockchain at that point. Yeah, but he operated exactly the same. Michael Patryn or back then, Omar. Dhanani he was a money launderer. He offered prepaid debit cards that were linked to your eagle to account, and he offered to set up ego for you to buy and sell it, things like that.
[00:35:18] As you see a lot of vendors with crypto due today. So that was his start. Now, the interesting thing about criminal activity back then, and this leads into this entire story, the interesting thing about criminal activity back then is that. . If you were a criminal, you really had to know every single aspect of everything that was going on.
[00:35:42] You had to know what identity was, how to do fake driver's licenses, how to do drop addresses. You knew the dead baby method. You knew how to launder money. You knew everything. You knew the security of systems, everything that doesn't work like that today. Today it's plug and play. The sophistication is no longer in the criminal.
[00:35:58] It's in the platform itself. Right? [00:36:00] But back then, the guys back then knew their shit. They knew what was going on. The reason that's important, mi, excuse me, Michael Patryn gets arrested. He serves four years in prison, or I'm sorry, Omar Dhanani gets arrested. He serves four years in prison. Gets released, changes his name to Michael Patryn.
[00:36:22] Now what, what, what did he get? What did he go to prison for those four years? For money laundering access device fraud few other charges like that. But because of shadow crew, those financial cyber crimes? Yes. And so he, was he one of the guys that went down in that sting of shadow crew? Yes. Okay. He was, he was one of the associates of that.
[00:36:40] Okay. So he gets four years. He gets out, changes his name to Michael patryn.. There was another Shadowcrew operative back then called, his name was Gerald Cotten whoa. Oh yeah. Wait a minute. Wait. Gerry Cotten down the rabbit hole. Man. Gerry Cotten was a shadow cooperative. Yes, he was. Wow. Yes, he was. Well, that just I didn't, okay.
[00:37:07] Oh yeah. Oh yeah. So he was also on shadowcrew. Both these guys spent a lot of time on Talk Gold, things like that, dealing with E Gold Liberty Reserve, things like that. So he partners with Gerald Cotten.. Now my thought partner didn't go down. Gerry Cotten didn't go down on the sting? No, he did not. He did not.
[00:37:27] Okay. Alright. But you gotta a figure. There were, there were 4,000 registered accounts on Shadowcrew. Only 33 people get popped. There were a few, you know, after that they got picked up because of database and people ratting 'em out, things like that. But certainly under 50, 60 people total out of 4,000 got arrested.
[00:37:45] Okay. Wow. So, Michael Patryn OmarDhanani changes his name to Michael Patryn. He partners with Gerald Cotten.. Now this is conjecture on my part. My thought is, is [00:38:00] that Quadriga the cryptocurrency exchange, that they be, that they started, my thought is, is that started as an EXIT SCAM. . I really think that, I really think that would make sense, right?
[00:38:12] Knowing that story. That would make sense. Yeah. Oh yeah. I was just about to get into that because, so my, my thought is that, so, so Omar Dhanani he would have knowledge of. how to create a new identity. Absolutely. Wow. Absolutely. Is that not collected A whole lot of time. One of the vast services in the portfolio of Shadow Crew we did this thing called, there were a few different ways that we could do identity back then before, and this is prior to AF because 9 11 things change.
[00:38:45] Okay? Right. Prior to ( 11, the only thing you had to do for a new identity. My name is Brett Johnson. I would come up with a counterfeit birth certificate in the name of Brett Johnson. Instead of me being born 1970, I would say that I was born in 2022. I would submit that to the Social Security Administration.
[00:39:04] They would issue a social security number for Brett Johnson, born 2022. What I would do then is I would use that social security number for that baby in my name and I would get a job. All right. That social would then report to the Social Security Administration, not as a one year old, but as a 52 year old.
[00:39:26] Right. Social Security would say, would, would basically say it must be some sort of error and they would fix that baby's social to be a 1970 social at that point. What that was, that's the way that worked prior to nine 11. Alright. Yep. Yep. After nine 11 that changed. What also happened though is we had this thing called the Dead Baby Method, which still works like a charm, even the United States to a degree, but what certainly in India, it works like a charm in Italy and Mexico and all these other countries.
[00:39:57] It works great and what happens is, is my name is Brett [00:40:00] Johnson. What I'm going to do is I'm gonna go to a graveyard, or I'm gonna get online and find a death index and I'm gonna find a child that was born in one state dies in another. That's that today would die at a very young age, but would be approximately the same age as I am.
[00:40:16] Okay. Okay. Okay. That's gonna be my target identity. What I'm going to do from that point is I'm going to order, and you, we used to do this with the California Death Index. You'd find a name of an individual for example, one of mine was Joshua Kaplan, born in 1976. You can look him up. He's still on there, but found him.
[00:40:34] He was born in Kentucky, died in California. I would order the death certificate from California that way. I get the mother's maiden name, the father's maiden name father's name, and the place of birth. From there, you order the birth certificate. The reason you're ordering the birth certificate is to make sure that it's not deceased, stamped deceased on it.
[00:40:52] Yep. So that gives you a target right there. While you're doing that, you're going to confirm that while he's been reported as dead in a state, that he's not been reported as dead on the Social Security Master Death Index. Okay. And the way this, actually, the way it actually works is prior to 9 11, in order for the federal government to know that you're dead, the family had to file for a Social Security death benefit pays like $218.
[00:41:20] It took the family prior to 9 11 it took the family to do that. After 9 11 the hospital or the mortuary could do that. Okay. So if the death benefit has not been filed, the federal government doesn't know that you're dead. Exactly. Okay. And that means that you can assume that dead baby's identity. Now, where that crime actually was invented was a guy named Frederick Forsyth.
[00:41:48] He wrote a little book called Day of the Jackal. All right? And that's about an assassin who tries to kill Charles Dugal. And in that, Frederick [00:42:00] Forsyth invents the Dead Baby Identity Method. Really? And it turns out it works like a charm. Wow. I mean, it is. It works to this day. It still works. So, Omar Dhanani would have understood the intricacies of ID Theft of how to come up with identities, come up with passports, fake IDs, everything else.
[00:42:21] So what we see happen is, is we see that Gerald Cotten and again, I think that Quadriga starts as an EXIT SCAM I think that both Omar Dhanani and Gerald Cotten, they wanted to come up with a, with a currency exchange or a crypto exchange, and steal everyone's money. All right. , but a funny thing happened along the way.
[00:42:42] Quadriga becomes legitimate and it becomes a moneymaker. The problem is, is that evidently Gerald Cotten had already stolen some of the funds out of some of the accounts. Right. Ro Shaggy . Right. And that still works in a, in a quintessential Ponzi scheme, that would still work. So long as Bitcoin kept going or Exactly.
[00:43:03] Cryptocurrency kept going up because you would get more and more people still wanting to buy it. Exactly. You would just, if for those few that wanted to get out, you would pay them from the new money that's coming in. Meanwhile, you stole the core of money. Exactly. Exactly. So what happens is, is Gerald Cotten travels to India where he mysteriously dies.
[00:43:24] Now, something that's not been reported in the Netflix documentaries or anything else is that when Gerald Cotten went to India. Before he gets there, he registers a couple of domains, one of the, and they're like domains to a mortuary in India and to the police station in that province in India as well.
[00:43:43] Why would he, why did he do that now? Why would he do that? I don't know. I don't know. But it might be, I mean, the, the thought that I've got is that, well, you could potentially use that to send back information to stateside saying, Hey, this guy actually died because evidently he [00:44:00] died of pneumonia or some such while India Crohn's disease.
[00:44:05] Crohn's disease, yeah. Yeah. And what happens when he dies? They notice that 236 million worth of crypto disappears at the same time. Now we already know that, looking back now, we know that some of those funds had already been stolen, right, right. Private keys, right? The cold wallet that only one person.
[00:44:25] Right. Has the password too, and that person mysteriously dies. Although it was a closed casket and nobody saw the dead person and has a deep understanding of identity theft. A deep, deep understanding of who has already served prison time for identity theft, and they're in a town in, as I understand it, that is, that's known for that known.
[00:44:47] Yes. Yes. Yeah. That's known for that. And, and here's the thing. We knew at Shadowcrew that there were areas that were known for that. For example, back when Shadowcrew was operational, you could head your ass down to Key West and buy identities all day long from people down there who were about to die of aids.
[00:45:03] It was a market down there. Mm-hmm. Wow. That you could do this kind of stuff with. So we knew these areas at the time. Now the problem is, is that OmarDhanani aka a Michael atrynPat, he doesn't get indicted because evidently he dropped out of Quadriga before any of this stuff happens. Now you would think. That no one would ever hear of Omar Dhanani Michael Patryn again after that, you know, done.
[00:45:28] However, that's not true, is it? Because about six, eight months ago, Wonderland time pops up. Yep. Token going off at $10,800 a pop. What happens though? People find out that the chief financial officer is Michael Patrick. So walk us through Wonderland time. What was Wonderland time? Wonderland time is one of these Defi tokens.
[00:45:50] Yep. So you've got the, the problem with crypto. And I think that's why you see people like Gerald Cotten, Michael Patryn all these other individuals that do rug pools and [00:46:00] scams and everything else. It's an unregulated vertical. Exactly. You, you can get by with a lot of crime and make a lot of money and not have to worry about jail time.
[00:46:12] And I think that's exactly why Michael Patryn and Gerald Cotten were there because it is an unregulated industry and people don't even understand it. People don't even understand. I mean, look at one point that Rja Ignatova is on the US most wanted today. She left. There's billions missing or hundreds of millions missing, and she just disappeared off the face of the earth.
[00:46:32] And one coin had hundreds of millions of dollars, actually, billions of dollars of people's investment, right? It wasn't even a cryptocurrency. There was no blockchain behind. It was nothing to it. I'm gonna give you Brandology bucks. . We're like, give us your life savings. We're gonna give you an account that shows it. Sounds almost like what Bernie Madoff was doing. We'll give you a piece of paper that shows you're making a lot of money, keep giving us more money, right? Yes. And you just like, look on paper, I'm really wealthy, but try and get your money out. Like, that's it. Oh, that, that does, that can't happen because it's not real. It's Brandology box.
[00:47:08] Right. But think, think about, and again, think about Thatam Beanie Baby at the beginning of our show today. Yeah. Alright. With crypto, you've got people again who are really wanting something. They've been told You're gonna be rich. So, so all of a sudden that logic, that reason goes out the window. Yep. Yeah.
[00:47:25] Yeah. And they fancy themselves investors. They're not investors, they're gamblers. They're getting their damn ivestment advice from Reddit for God's sakes. Right? Yep. So yeah, these are all issues of people who, who, who simply do not think rationally anymore. Right. And the gamification, the, the, the. Ways that you can trade now or you can do it from an app on your phone right through, through, through, through some of these platforms.
[00:47:49] And no, no disrespect to those platforms. No. But kids that aren't. Sophisticated are like, well, I'm gonna get some crypto, and I'm, oh, here's a new crypto. And they're all trying to ride that initial Bitcoin, [00:48:00] you know, rise where, where it went from a few cents or a few bucks to over $50,000 for one single Bitcoin at one time.
[00:48:08] Right? You're right. But the problem is, is, is and I, you could look it up so you can, you can do a Google search, you can pay some dude $200 and he'll make you an Ether Token or a BSC token finance token, $200. From there, you open up a telegram channel, a Discord channel, have it populated with bots that constantly talk about how great the token is.
[00:48:28] Right? You get over to red and start talking about pump the price up. What are you gonna do? You're gonna do this thing called a rug pool. So you get people who buy into the token, you're sitting there on your wallet, and all of a sudden you sell all of your tokens, crash the entire market. You walk away with a couple hundred thousand.
[00:48:43] Yep. Pretty good. Payday for a couple three, maybe a couple months ago for $300. Yeah, right. Pretty good payday. Michael Patryn I think it's unregulated and it's so complicated. People don't even understand it. No, they don't. They don't. And that's, that's a lot of the issue with that The wild was today.
[00:48:59] Yeah. You know, Michael Patryn with him, the way, the way I found out about it, I had a guy message me on Reddit and he was like, Hey Michael, Patrick is back. And I'm like, what the hell are you talking about? He's like, look at the Wonderland Time subreddit. And it was right as the stuff was going on, Michael Patryn had it had came out that he was the chief financial officer of Wonderland time.
[00:49:19] The person, the, the main developer knew it the entire time. Wow. And admits it. And the token goes from 10,800 down to $117 in the space of like four days. Ouch. So you can think and think about that. You've got retirement funds, you've got. Everyone's life savings, everything else invested in this token that is now completely bankrupt.
[00:49:42] And the problem with that, and this is this Reddit echo chamber type type thing that goes on, the problem is, is you've got people that have lost everything because you've got a criminal that's associated with this. Yep. Yet you've still got victims that come in that are trying to convince themselves that, [00:50:00] no, it's legitimate, it's gonna work out just fine.
[00:50:02] So you have these conversations of people saying, I've lost everything. And meanwhile you've got other people saying, oh, keep holding, keep holding. It's gonna go right back up. Going back up. It's, it's going back up. So Patrick ends his, ends, his ass ends up over in Thailand. The last I heard he was in Thailand, his Ether wallet.
[00:50:21] And this was before the latest crash. His Ether wallet at one point was 50 million. I know it dropped down to 35 million. I don't know what it's valued at right now. Wow. But, and still not indicted. Why? Because there's no damn regulation yet. No. Right there, there's nothing to indict 'em on. There's nothing on the books.
[00:50:41] That's crazy. Yeah. Unbelievable. I mean, it is, it's absolutely insane when you think that you can steal that kind of money, you can ruin lives. People commit suicide, everything else, and you walk away unscathed. Something's wrong with that
[00:50:56] . Alright, so from that there's, there's quite a bit to unpack there again, to remind the viewers, Brett Johnson went to federal prison, worked for the Secret Service, he's now completely reformed in one of the national leaders for cybersecurity and anti-fraud.
[00:51:12] And works closely with federal law enforcement. And because he knows how, how the criminal mind works and he knows how these exit scams and these account takeovers and how identity theft works. He just explained that Michael Patryn knew how to do this. Jerry Cotten was somebody that worked on Shadowcrew, right?
[00:51:34] These guys and Jerry Cotten, as we know from the other investigation that that, that he had done this even as a kid when he was 15, 16 year years old through through E Gold, right? Which was the precursor to cryptocurrency. They would make this stuff up. He would, he would go do a Ponzi scheme, take in money, and then shut down, and they all
[00:51:53] Yeah. They all learn the same lesson that Brett Johnson did back with that blue elephant, right? If you [00:52:00] just keep pushing victims off, they eventually go away and they don't go report to law enforcement. I mean, Jeff, that's, that's a crazy story and that's. Legitimately say there's documentaries available on Oh, yeah.
[00:52:13] Investigative journalists, Amy Castor and Takara Small, have spent years doing this. There's also a great podcast at Death in Crypto Land, the story of Jerry Cotten and QuadrigaCX. That's on the CDC the Canadian broadcast thing. And then it's just phenomenal. There's the Netflix documentary and like trust No one it's, it's, it's, that involves a person that wears a mask because he's afraid for his life.
[00:52:40] And he talks and he talks with a voice disguised the entire time. Yeah, you're welcome for that. Yeah. That was good. Yeah. I'll give you nightmares. And he talks with a voice disguise, right? His name's QC X I N T. He's a masked person. Right. And he talks about his reaction to losing his life savings and the investigation.
[00:53:01] He went on the Reddit threads. He went on the dark web. Really found out all of this and. What the findings were that several different organizations found is that at the end of the day, based on the blockchain, this was a Ponzi scheme. Yeah. Right. This was not a legit exit from the get-go. From Yeah.
[00:53:19] It really, really looks like it. I mean his death kind of sparked an online debate, right. Stringing theories from to telegram by those that lost, lost their life savings. And there's more than 76,000 customers that lost money on this. Wow. It's a lot. Right. Jennifer Robertson today is kind of, she lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
[00:53:39] Last I heard. Anyway. Les, I could find online in Canada with her two dogs. And according to cinema aholic, she's working part-time as a waitress and studying to Vietnam Elementary school teacher. Not exactly. Jet setting, living in Thailand, flying around, what did turn of events. It's part of the reason why I don't think, if she was supposed to be involved, maybe she went along with it [00:54:00] at the time.
[00:54:01] Like the only thing I could see that could be bad. Like ev you know, even if we thought she was involved, I think he burned her too. Like he might have said, I'm gonna go take off. We are gonna look, this was all like, I could picture it, right? You're, you're, you've gotta tell her, look, the reason I brought you to India is because I gotta take off.
[00:54:19] Right? We're gonna fake my death. I'm gonna give you hundreds of millions of dollars. You'll never have to work again. I'll come see you later under a new identity. Okay? But just go along with this. Okay? But even if he did that and she went along with it, even if she did that, she didn't get anything out of it.
[00:54:36] He burned her eventually too. Like all of course they needed body because with that closed casket, I mean this all just freaks of just. behavior just outright criminality, if that's a word. , you know, nobody's ever seen him dead, right? No, that's the whole thing. I mean, at the end of the day, Jerry Cotten was a conman Quadriga CX was a Ponzi scheme. That's my personal opinion. I mean, he wound up losing over 150 million of client funds that he gambled away and spent on himself. And he could, what we learned from people that had employed him and employed his founder, his co-founder right, is that it's pretty easy to do this.
[00:55:17] It's not that far out of the realm. Right. Especially the body practice at it before . Yeah. The body's never been exhumed. You know, and we, we don't even know if there's a body in that close casket. Right. Nobody knows cuz nobody with any legal authority has ever seen him dead. So, I mean, we should take a trip to take a trip to Thailand, see if we can bump into Mr.
[00:55:38] Gerry Cotten. Well, yeah. I mean, if you bump into Gerry Cotten we'll leave you with this. I mean, this is, I, I appreciate you walking me through, let, let me walk through this story cuz it's a great, great story and it's just one of those things, I can't believe he, he's not on like the f b I most wanted list, right.
[00:55:54] I just can't believe it. Like, until you exhume the body, he should be on the most wanted list. Right? Like, [00:56:00] there should be some like it's one of the two that's the least you could do for the people that lost their funds and maybe it's because they lost their funds on cryptocurrency. Right? It's the, it's the one thing that we've seen.
[00:56:10] Look at like what we saw in this years ago. What are we seeing now with FTX and maybe Binance and maybe Coinbase, who knows? Right? But we see these, these, these things in this unregulated in. And I'm absolutely not for regulations and government intervention into the private sector, but dang man, this is like the wild west.
[00:56:34] And they have, it's a sheep, it's a wolf and sheep's clothing because they portray themselves as a legitimate, like stock market, right? Yeah. But it's not, it's freaking brand dollar bucks. Yeah. Investors beware. Yeah.
[00:56:48] So if you bump into Gerry Cotten, tell him his investors will find him. And that Brett Johnson says "Hello!"
[00:56:54] And we'll include what resources, links, and everything in the show notes. Absolutely. Thanks everybody for listening. And go check out those those episodes. Thanks man.
[00:57:05] Hi Cybercrime Junkies. Thanks for listening and watching. Got a question you want us to address on an episode, reach out to us at cybercrimejunkies.com.
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