25.10.2020

US Prosecutors Ask to Pause SEC Action Against Alleged Crypto Scammer

Assistant U.S. attorneys said in a Wednesday memorandum their prosecutions of Manor and associate Edith Pardo “substantially overlap” with the SEC case. They have asked the judge in the SEC case, Stanley R. Chesler, to issue a stay to “preserve the integrity” of their criminal case. The SEC “does not oppose” the motion, according to the filing.

The U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey is seeking to pause the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) civil action against Blockchain Terminal founder Boaz Manor while it conducts its own criminal case against Manor’s alleged $30 million ICO fraud.

Both are prosecuting Manor and Pardo’s allegedly fraudulent BCT token offering, said by the SEC to have raised $30 million for the development of digital securities hedge fund technology in 2017 and 2018. The SEC also alleged Manor never disclosed to investors his criminal background, real identity or his ties to a failed Canadian hedge fund.

Manor was convicted of breach of trust in 2011 in connection to the Portus hedge fund, which, before shuttering in 2005, had misappropriated over $100 million in investor funds. Manor served one year of his four-year sentence. He eventually headed to the U.S. for a new venture called Blockchain Terminal.

As documented in a December 2018 investigation by The Block, a “Shaun MacDonald” leading the startup’s race to build a “Bloomberg Terminal’ for the initial coin offering space was actually Manor in disguise. Blockchain Terminal’s employees were unaware of Manor’s backstory, and neither were the 275 U.S. investors in the BCT ICO.

A grand jury indicted Manor and Pardo with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud prior to the SEC complaint, according to the memorandum. Civil and criminal charges were unveiled on Jan. 17.

The attorney’s office now wants to temporarily freeze the SEC action. Letting that case move forward would give the defendants room to delay and degrade the criminal procedure, they said.

Pardo pleaded not guilty on Jan. 22, according to the memorandum. Manor remains at large.

US Military Contractor BAE Systems Wants to Hire ‘Cryptocurrency Exploiters’

One of the world’s largest defense contractors is seeking “cryptocurrency exploiters” to support a client based in Washington, D.C.

Advertised on LinkedIn, the Virginia-based arm of BAE Systems is searching for candidates who can “demonstrate proficiency in cryptocurrency” and can move to the U.S. capital to “support a client’s operational requirements.”

Successful candidates will either have to be a certified bitcoin professional or expert (CBP/X) – industry-standard certifications – or have a “substantive understanding” of cryptocurrencies. That will include expertise in elliptic curve algorithms and zero-knowledge proofs, as well as “hands-on experience analyzing Smart Contract vulnerabilities,” the advert reads.

Candidates will also need to understand how cryptocurrencies operate at a source code level, according to the advert, as well as “understand privacy coins, wallet types, full and light nodes, virtual currency payment processors, secure payment protocols and other issues related to the currency.”

BAE Systems Inc. is one of the largest contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense, supplying them with military hardware, as well as advanced electronics and technology solutions.

BAE’s advert does not disclose who the client is, but does say the role requires candidates to have security clearance from Polygraph, a lie detector test usually reserved for positions that handle sensitive information.

Candidates will be expected to interact with personnel at “all levels” within the client organization and will require experience in “supporting operations or familiarity with the Intelligence Community.” They will also need to have at least six years of relevant work experience.

U.S. authorities are increasing their interest in analyzing cryptocurrencies. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis made more than $10 million in 2019 from 10 federal government contracts.

BAE’s ad for cryptocurrency specialists has been posted for some months, but has so far received fewer than 25 applicants.

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