• The U.S. CFTC requested the court to settle the Bitcoin scam case it filed against Benjamin Reynolds without him
  • Reynolds is the director of Control-Finance, which operated from May to September 2017
  • When Control-Finance shut down, it promised to return Bitcoins to its investors, which it did not

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) could not locate Benjamin Reynolds, the person behind a Bitcoin scam in 2017 where $147 million worth of BTC went missing. CFTC requested a federal district court to settle the ongoing case without him.

Reynolds is the director of U.K.-based Control-Finance, a cryptocurrency investment firm. The company enticed investors with guaranteed profits of 45% from their investments. According to the complaint filed in court, the returns initially made the investors satisfied. In reality, Control-Finance did not do any trades on the investors’ behalf nor did it earn any profits from trade for them.

Control-Finance operated from May to September 2017 and managed to rake in 22,859 BTC from more than 1,000 customers, news outlet Decrypt reports.

Control-Finance shut down in September 2017 but told customers that their Bitcoins are safe and will be returned. At this point, the CFTC alleged that the company completed the misappropriation of the customers’ Bitcoins.

For context, Bitcoin is worth $1,390 in May 2017 and worth $4,964 in September. Bitcoin went on to reach its all-time high of near $20,000 before the year ended.

The CFTC filed its complaint against Control-Finance and Reynold in June 2019 and claimed the fraudulent scheme is worth at least $147 million.

However, Reynolds went missing.

In January 2020, the CFTC requested the New York Southern District Court for an order to authorize service of process on Reynolds through a publication in the Daily Telegraph, as well as to extend for 60 days the time limit by which the CFTC can serve on Reynolds. The service of process is the procedure wherein the plaintiff notifies the defendant of initial legal action. Because Reynolds could not be found, the court could authorize that the service of process be done via publication in a general circulation paper, such as The Daily Telegraph in the U.K., where Reynolds is based.

With Reynolds still missing, the CFTC wrote to the court that it will prepare its motion for default judgment against the director. The government agency said it will file the motion by Aug. 20, 2020.

Speaking with Decrypt, Rebecca Rettig, a partner at FisherBroyles law Firm, said that even if Reynolds could not be located, the CFTC would be able to pursue any of his available assets the moment the agency received the default judgment.

According to Marc Powers, a partner at BakerHostetler law firm, the CFTC would also be able to freeze Reynolds’ assets.

Finally, the CFTC could also press for criminal charges against the director, but he must first be brought back to the U.S.

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