The mystery surrounding the disappearance of $190 million in crypto from Canadian exchange Quadriga deepened as it was revealed the surviving founder is a reported ex-con who served 18 months in a federal U.S. prison for identity theft, bank fraud and credit card fraud.
Michael Patryn, who founded Quadriga with Gerald Cotten, has been revealed as Omar Dhanani. After denying this and disputing reports linking him to his criminal past, records were obtained showing that Patryn legally changed his name twice, six years before he founded Quadriga with Cotten.
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1. Omar Dhanani, now known as Michael Patryn, has emerged as an enigmatic figure in the strange case of Quadriga Fintech Solutions, which hasn’t been able to find $195 million of clients’ cash and cryptocurrencies. https://t.co/TGJ4gG5g7f
— Bloomberg Law (@BLaw) March 19, 2019
Patryn has refused to comment on his criminal past or his identity, which he changed from Omar Dhanani to Omar Patryn in 2003. He later changing his name to Michael Patryn in 2008. Both changes occurred within the province of British Columbia, Canada.
A Dark Cloud Hovers Above
Cotten died at age 30 last December in Jaipur, India due to complications from Crohn’s Disease. The event plunged Quadriga into chaos, as he was reportedly the only person holding the private keys to access the exchange’s $190 million in customer assets.
The news sent shockwaves across the crypto space. 115,000 people were unable to withdraw funds they’d deposited with the exchange, including one man who lost his $422,000 life savings.
Dhanani has pleaded guilty to a range of crimes in the U.S., including conspiracy to commit credit and bank card fraud at age 22 in 2005. This was allegedly for the now terminated shadowcrew.com site that offered a marketplace for 1.5 million stolen bank and credit card numbers. He also pleaded guilty in 2007 to separate charges of burglary, grand larceny and computer fraud.