A Northern Ireland-based tech CEO has been charged with running a large-scale crypto scam that stole 397 bitcoin (today worth nearly $6.5 million) from victims and has been called “the first case of its kind” in the country.
In addition to stealing the bitcoins, 43-year-old Jawad Yaqub is also facing charges of fraudulent trading, fraud by false representation, theft, and converting criminal property all through his County Down-based firm Razormind.
It’s also alleged that he attempted to increase his credibility in the eyes of victims by giving himself a fake masters degree and PhD from Queen’s University, Belfast.
Razormind was an information technology services company focused on integrating blockchain technology into the workplace. In June 2016, Cointelegraph reported that the firm was a “blockchain rival to Ethereum” with over 260 staff, global offices, and clients such as HSBC, Santander, the Bank of America, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
It was also claimed in September 2016 that Razormind would establish two blockchain banks in Europe. However, this never happened and the company has since dissolved.
According to his legal team, Yaqub is currently struggling to get by while his crypto accounts are frozen and is “living off the goodwill of others.” A preliminary inquiry will be held on December 15 before the case proceeds to the crown court.