Colin is an associate editor and staff writer for Bitcoin Magazine. He's proud to call Nashville his home, where he spends his days shouting at peddle taverns and trying to find affordable parking downtown. If it wasn't already obvious, he holds bitcoin.
QuadrigaCX Sent Deposits Allegedly Linked to CEO’s Widow, Mailed Withdrawals in Cash
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For those QuadrigaCX users who were fortunate enough to have withdrawal requests honored, some appear to have received their funds through unconventional means.
An anonymous QuadrigaCX user who corresponded with Bitcoin Magazine said that they received a bank deposit from Robertson Nova Consulting Inc. (RNC) on their bank statements. Registered with the Canadian government as Robertson Nova Property Management Inc., the corporation's sole employee, Jennifer Robertson, who is the widow of the exchange's late CEO, Gerald Cotten, is listed as recognized agent, director and president/secretary, according to Nova Scotia public records. The company's office address is 71 Kinross Court, Nova Scotia, the same address as Jennifer Robertson and Gerald Cotten's former home, which recently sold for $1.1 million CAD.
Bitcoin Magazine reviewed a financial inquiry into the individual’s bank account deposit history to confirm that the amounts deposited on the bank statement matched the emails.
The reply-to line of the message includes what is believed to be Robertson's email address (email@example.com), as well. Robertson, who was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, legally changed her name from Jennifer Kathleen Margaret Griffith to Jennifer Kathleen Margaret Robertson on December 1, 2016.
Screenshot of email to QuadrigaCX user
Other QuadrigaCX users have reported receiving bank deposits from Robertson Nova Consulting, as well, showing up as ROBERTSON NOVA on their bank statements as payroll deposits (these reports were vetted by a separate anonymous source close to the matter). As was the case with the individual who originally leaked the news to Bitcoin Magazine, these deposits took place in early March of 2017. Clients also noted another email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, as a reply-to from RNC Inc. deposits, as well.
Whether or not the funds came from Robertson, the reply-to implicates her in the exchange’s business dealings, something she swore she was not involved with in her affidavit to the Nova Scotia court at the inception of legal proceedings.
“I was not involved in the business of the Companies while Gerry was alive,” item 53 of the affidavit reads. However, if a company operated by Robertson initiated the deposits, that could implicate her in QuadrigaCX’s businesses and contradict her statements.
If [these] anonymous statements are later substantiated and gain admission into evidence," Chetan Phull of Smartblock Law, told Bitcoin Magazine, "it is possible that the widow’s evidence will be doubted or thrown out for lack of credibility. Many factors would be at play, including the widow's knowledge and intention."
If users didn’t receive funds from RNC Inc., they may have received them in physical cash instead. The same source who leaked the information on Robertson’s potential involvement in the company also told Bitcoin Magazine that they had hard cash delivered to their home as a withdrawal option from QuadrigaCX.
Three separate withdrawals came with return addresses to Quadriga Vancouver, British Columbia, though the source said that Canada Post tracking sourced the packages to three separate mailing addresses: Richmond, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; and Sherwood Park, Alberta. Given Canada’s vast landscape, the source emphasized that these locations are hundreds of miles apart.
These accounts corroborate reports that QuadrigaCX honored, at one point, withdrawal requests with physical cash, something that QuadrigaCX openly advertised as an option on its website when it was still active, multiple sources confirmed to Bitcoin Magazine. Some of these sources received upwards of $10,000 dollars in cash.
The developments complicate the role hard cash has played for the company in its troubled history. As the exchange advertised, users were encouraged to deposit and withdraw in-person at the exchange’s outposts. One of these, the Globe and Mail reports, no longer operates as a cash repository for the company, and Aaron Matthews, a QuadrigaCX contractor, owns the property, which he rents out.
QuadrigaCX co-founder Michael Patryn told Bitcoin Magazine that in-person deposits/withdrawals are not uncommon for the cryptocurrency industry, citing an early exchange venture of his, Vault of Satoshi, as well as other Canadian exchanges Einstein and Coinsquare (which no longer does). Patryn admitted that sending hard cash through the mail “sounds less common” and said that neither practices were standard procedure before he parted ways with the company in March 2016.
Less than common, the practice is unheard of in the industry for an exchange of QuadrigaCX’s stature and repute, which has served over 100,000 users. Given QuadrigaCX’s inability to maintain banking relationships in the past (when it was still operating, the exchange relied on a miscellany of international payment processors to substitute as fiduciary partners), the availability of mass liquid capital calls into question how QuadrigaCX managed to acquire these funds and where they’ve been stored.
Mounting legal action for QuadrigaCX will top another milestone today as law firms from around Canada will meet in Halifax to win the right to represent affected Quadriga users in a class action lawsuit against the exchange.
This article has been updated to include public records for Robertson Nova Property Management Inc.