Federal prosecutors on Friday announced criminal charges against Renwick Haddow, the man behind the co-working fraud scheme Bar Works.
The move come almost six months after The Real Deal first exposed Haddow’s involvement in Bar Works and raised questions over the identity of the firm’s supposed CEO, “Jonathan Black.”
Prosecutors charged Haddow with two counts of wire fraud, each carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
In a statement, John Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, accused Haddow of misleading investors in two ventures — Bar Works and Bitcoin Store Inc. — in order to get them to invest.
“Haddow also allegedly used the alias ‘Jonathan Black’ to disguise his connection to the companies, and then allegedly misappropriated investors’ money for his own use,” Kim said. “Along with our partners at the FBI and SEC, we will continue to root out fraud schemes perpetrated on investors.”
Also on Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed separate fraud charges against Haddow for allegedly lying to investors. According to the statement, Haddow collected $37 million from Bar Works investors. He allegedly wired $4 million to his own bank account in Morocco and another $1 million to an account in Mauritius.
“Haddow created two trendy companies and misled investors into believing that highly-qualified executives were leading them to quick profitability. In reality, Haddow controlled the companies from behind the scenes and they were far from profitable,” the SEC’s New York director Andrew Calamari said.
Bar Works raised money from investors by telling them they were buying desks in its co-working spaces and promising double-digit returns. Haddow, who has been accused of running Ponzi schemes in the past, carefully hid his involvement, installing his Ukrainian wife as a co-founder under an assumed name. TRD previously reported that there was no evidence the other supposed co-founder, Jonathan Black, exists.