Gerald Cotten took millions in cryptocurrency with him to the grave – find out what happens in ‘Exit Scam’

True Crime August 17, 2021
Listen to ‘Exit Scam’

Treats Media presents “Exit Scam,” a true crime podcast exploring the mysterious circumstances of Gerald Cotten’s death and disappearing fortune. Gerald was the CEO of the largest Canadian bitcoin exchange, Quadriga. In 2018, Gerald and his wife went to India to celebrate their honeymoon. During the trip, he began suffering from stomach pains and suddenly died. This would become a problem for his business. Gerald was the only person who knew the passwords for the clients’ accounts. With over $215 million in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies locked away with the passwords that went with him to the grave, 76,000+ clients’ money seemed unaccessible forever. For host Aaron Lammer, this series of events raised red flags. So he investigated the sketchy circumstances to see what could be uncovered.

Aaron and producer Lane Brown became obsessed with this case. They performed research, pulled court documents, and tried to discover what happened in India. They investigate what happened to Gerald’s body, going from a Jaipur hospital to where he was allegedly buried in Halifax.

At the time of his death, Gerald was the only employee, running the operation from his laptop. To log in to any cryptocurrency account, you need to know your crypto keys. One of the necessary rules is to never lose your crypto keys. If you do, you lose access and your funds are suspended in a “crypto purgatory.” An eerily predictive interview clip from Gerald in 2014 is played. He speaks on how losing the private key to Bitcoin wallets is how people lose their money. Gerald explains it’s like “burning cash,” because it’s nearly impossible to recover without the private keys.

In the second episode, we learn about the shady co-founder of Quadriga. Next, in the third episode, listeners hear about Gerald’s career criminality beginnings as a con artist. Aaron interviews people who crossed paths with Gerald in college and high school. Aaron interviews Gerry’s acquaintance, Michael Perklin, in the fifth episode. Michael is a Bitcoin security expert who met Gerry at a mutual co-working space. They both attended Bitcoin meetups.

Michael unofficially recommended Gerald’s company to potential clients, and Gerald sent kickbacks his way. When asked if any suspicions arose while they knew each other, he recalls the time Gerald paid $10,000 for a Bitcoin conference booth about security, held by professionals. Some topics covered at this event taught how to trace bitcoin for investigations. Michael was surprised that Gerald didn’t attend, but it makes sense that Gerald would not want to be on the radar of who’s essentially leading the police force of the Bitcoin securities industry if he indeed had a scam in mind.

By the last episode, Gerald’s customers rally to have his coffin examined. The show leaves listeners wondering if Gerald faked his death. Was his wife in on this scheme? Do Quadriga’s clients receive their Bitcoin? Tune into this 8-part series to find out what happens next.

Listen to ‘Exit Scam’

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