Jennifer Robertson, whose husband Gerald Cotten died at age 30 during their honeymoon in India in 2018, spoke out.
The widow of a Canadian bitcoin entrepreneur who died suddenly, leaving behind huge debts and mysteriously missing funds, has opened up about being plagued by death threats from creditors who thought he faked his own demise.
Jennifer Robertson, whose husband Gerald Cotten died at age 30 during their honeymoon in India in 2018, recounts her ordeal in a new book, Bitcoin Widow: Love, Betrayal, and Missing Millions.
Cotten, founder of cryptocurrency trading platform Quadriga CX, died under mysterious circumstances, succumbing to complications from Crohn’s disease just weeks after their wedding.
The company kept his death a secret for a month and later filed for bankruptcy after Robertson revealed that her late husband was the only person with the passwords needed to access investors’ funds.
At the time of Cotten’s death, the Quadriga CX owed its 76,000 investors approximately 215 million Canadian dollars ($168 million at current exchange rates).
Canada’s largest securities regulator has ruled that Quadriga CX’s collapse was due to a Ponzi scheme run by Cotten, and conspiracy theories abound that he faked his own death and made off with the money.
Cotten died in December 2018 due to complications from Crohn’s disease while on a trip to India. His death came four days after he made a will that left all of his assets to his wife, including $9 million in real estate, a Lexus jet, a Cessna and a yacht.
“I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that the story of Quadriga’s missing millions caused a media frenzy,” Robertson wrote in her new book, according to an excerpt published by The Walrus.
“But I was still shocked that I was being targeted as a person who should be tortured and then killed in various horrible ways. I know that some were just ranting, but others seemed deadly serious, ”she added.
Robertson said enraged Quadriga users, unable to withdraw funds owed to them, pursued her relentlessly, bombarding her with death threats in phone calls, emails and social media messages to her and her family members.
Roberston tells his side of the story in a new book released last month.
“Our money or violence – your choice, gen,” wrote one of them. Another wrote: “I’ll take one for the team and kill Jen.”
One said that Robertson “deserved hours of waterboarding and then crucifixion” while others threatened to kill her father or even her dogs.
“I was too scared to even go outside,” she wrote.
Robertson writes in her memoir that she first met Cotten in 2014 while battling a nasty divorce and working part-time as a waitress.
She says she knew little about cryptocurrencies and was unaware that Cotten was involved in fraudulent schemes before her death.
“Thanks to a troop of reporters, Quadriga creditors, and conspiracy theorists digging into the recesses of Jerry’s past, I soon began to learn a lot of things about Gerald Cotten that I didn’t know, and didn’t want to know. ,’ she wrote.
“I was trying to get the kind person I knew and loved, the smartest, funniest, kindest person I’ve ever met, the person who taught me so much, the only person I’ve ever known, who offered me unconditional love. , who made me always feel like his number one man – with the dark con artist described in the media reports,” Robertson wrote.
“Just the fact that Jerry should never have been able to hold all the levers of running a billion dollar company without internal or external oversight. Now I know it. Then I didn’t know it. I did not believe that I needed it, ”she wrote in her memoirs.
Last year, the Ontario Securities Commission ruled that the collapse of Quadriga CX was due to a Ponzi scheme run by Cotten. It turned out that Cotten was pumping out assets for personal use. The report included an image of a wad of money in his house.
Cotten’s death came four days after he made a will that left all of his assets to his wife, including $9 million in real estate, a Lexus jet, a Cessna and a yacht.
His death certificate, issued by the Indian authorities, misspelled his name, fueling conspiracy theories that he faked his death and that Robertson was involved in the scheme.
At the behest of Cotten, Robertson inherited his share of the business and became involved in the ensuing legal battles.
She says she lent the company a total of $490,000 to fund the company’s initial defense of creditors, and that amount was never repaid as the legal battle played out.
Eventually, with her personal finances hopelessly entangled with the Cotten and Quadringa estates, Robertson reached an agreement to leave a penny on the dollar of her claimed assets, handing over the rest to creditors.
She says she was shocked to learn of Cotten’s deception and fraudulent misuse of client funds.
“He created fake accounts using fake names like ‘Aretwo Deetwo’ and ‘Seethree Peaohh’, filled up accounts with fake cryptocurrency and then used it for real trades, betting that the value of the cryptocurrency would increase and he would make money. Money. This is not true. Instead, the cost fell and continued to fall,” she wrote.
“Jerry has lost at least $100 million that Ernst and Young have been able to trace so far. Another $80 million remained unaccounted for,” Robertson added.
Worse, Jerry mixed Quadriga’s earnings with his own, using funds held by Quadriga’s investors to finance his lifestyle. Our way of life! Our lives!’
“I won’t lie: I liked being rich. I liked not asking, “Can I afford it?” I could – whatever it was,” she wrote.
“We could buy a house in Nova Scotia, another one in British Columbia, even our own island with a yacht, not just a sailboat, to get there. We could travel to exotic places.
The Ontario Securities Commission said in its June 2020 report that about 76,000 investors collectively lost at least $124.2 million (CA$169 million) in the 2019 Quadriga collapse.
The Commission found that Cotten traded on the platform and that clients were not informed when Cotten was a counterparty to their trades.
“It took me longer than many others to appreciate the extent of Jerry’s deception. Like most of the rest of the world, I learned about Jerry’s scam gradually,” Robertson wrote.
“It turned, slowly at first, then suddenly, into a torrent of doubt, which turned into an inexorable torrent of accusations, and finally into a tidal wave of hard evidence that almost swallowed me whole,” she added.
The Ontario Securities Commission said in its June 2020 report that about 76,000 investors collectively lost at least C$169 million in the 2019 Quadriga collapse.
According to the regulator, about 115 million Canadian dollars of this amount was due to Cotten’s fraudulent trading.
When Cotten died, the platform owed customers about 215 million Canadian dollars, according to the commission.
Cotten also took assets out for personal use, transferring about C$24 million to himself and Robertson between May 2016 and January 2018, the report said.
Approximately CAD 34 million was reimbursed to bankruptcy administrators and paid out to clients.
The trustee also returned approximately C$12 million worth of assets to Robertson, while Cotten returned approximately C$10 million to Quadriga in the months before his death.