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Catch Him if You Can: Accused Brit Crypto Ponzi Schemer Eludes Capture from Korea to USA

TL;DR: Regulators from South Korea to the United States are having a very tough time catching up to accused crypto Ponzi head Benjamin Reynolds. Agencies such as the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) lost track of the British citizen some six months ago, causing the CFTC to file a court motion asking for a two-month extension in hopes of ultimately finding and formally serving Reynolds. 

Accused Brit Crypto Ponzi Schemer Eludes Capture

The American real-life character Frank Abagnale, Jr. as portrayed in the classic conman adventure movie, Catch Me If You Can (2002), managed to escape the clutches of a dogged law enforcement agency for years. It became the thing of legend, as Abagnale globe trotted and assumed various identities. Something like that just might be happening in the present era with regard to Benjamin Reynolds, once Director of the alleged crypto Ponzi, Control-Finance.

Reynolds and Control-Finance back in 2017 stand accused of misappropriating nearly 23,000 BTC (then valued at $147 million) and defrauding over 1,000 customers in a multi-level marketing (MLM) Ponzi scheme. In June of last year, he was publicly outed by the CFTC through a press release. During the price mania runup of mid-to-late 2017, Reynolds is alleged to have helped convince investors to send the MLM tens of thousands of BTC in exchange for daily percentage gains of “up to 45% per month,” according to the formal complaint. “In reality, the defendants made no trades on customers’ behalf, earned no trading profits for them, and misappropriated their Bitcoin deposits,” the agency insisted.

So little is known about Reynolds, it’s even difficult to find an accurate picture of him (this is an image from the major motion picture, Catch Me If You Can.

The CFTC has been unable to locate Reynolds since that formal complaint was filed. As a result, at the start of this year, the regulator filed a motion for a 60 extension in order to finally serve Reynolds that initial formal notice of “civil monetary penalties, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, trading bans, and permanent injunctions against launching such a scheme again,” according to FinanceFeeds. Attempts to serve him at a last known address failed (12 Richmond Street, Manchester, England M1 3NB, it turns out, didn’t exist or was boarded up), and it seems the trail has gone cold for now.

It’s particularly maddening in the age of mass surveillance. According to reports, regulators are so frustrated they’re hoping publishing notice in a popular newspaper will suffice to keep court proceedings moving. Most analysts believe that due to the severity of investor losses in the case, an extension to find Reynolds proper will be granted at some point. It appears South Korean prosecutors wish to speak with him as well, but also have had no luck in locating the internationally wanted Brit. The “only known email addresses associated with Reynolds and Control-Finance: admin@control-finance.com and support@control-finance.com,” FinanceFeeds revealed, which promptly returns the response as “undelivered.”

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