The promoter behind the Blockchain Terminal (BCT) initial coin offering (ICO) has been unveiled as a disgraced Canadian fraudster who had adopted a fake persona, in an elaborate scheme that fooled employees as well as investors.
Former criminal financier Boaz Manor was uncovered as the directing individual behind the Blockchain Terminal ICO, which raised as much as $31 million for its product, a blockchain-powered rival to the data and trading tool Bloomberg Terminal, The Block revealed.
Yet as far as investors and employees were concerned, the firm was being directed by a shadowy figure known as Shaun MacDonald—despite the fact no-one in the organization knew much about the man or his background.
In reality, MacDonald was in fact Manor with a beard and a freshly assumed identity, despite being personally banned from involvement in the industry.
Manor previously accepted a lifetime ban on operating within the securities industry following his conviction and subsequent four-year prison sentence in his native Canada over a $106 million hedge fund scam.
Well known crypto analyst Ran Neuner, reported to have invested as much as $1.3 million in the project, said he was working with investors to gather as much information as possible to present to law enforcement agencies.
This is probably the worst case of inaccuracy I have ever read. Especially given the fact that I lost a ton of my own cash investing in this fraud. @lawmaster and @TheBlock__ – you could/should have pinged me for the facts before you published. https://t.co/qQlLvRWL92
— Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) December 10, 2018
In an interview with CoinTelegraph, Neuner noted, “Due to the suspicion [I] resigned immediately from the advisory and have been working with a bunch of other investors ever since to gather enough credible information to go to the authorities and report the project. My investigation is ongoing.”
Bob Bonomo, formerly of AllianceBernstein, was appointed to head the firm, which offers $999 data terminals for crypto traders and hedge funds. However, after resigning from his post in the summer, MacDonald announced his true identity to employees, before halting salary payments, according to The Block.
The revelations are the latest to highlight fraudulent activity around ICOs, with regulators in the U.S. and beyond increasingly cracking down on those still promoting unregistered ICOs, as well as bringing retrospective action against those found to have been operating fraudulently.
Arguably one of the most audacious ICO scams in recent months, Boaz Manor’s current whereabouts are unknown.
Meanwhile, Blockchain Terminal launched its product in October—despite the vast majority of its funds having come from the ill-fated ICO.
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