Matthew J. Krueger, who until October 2022 had displayed himself on both LinkedIn and the Seaquake.io website as the Chief Financial Officer for “digital asset infrastructure firm”, Seaquake.io, an enterprise that specialized in bilking investors out of their money, has apparently made efforts to re-invent himself and ‘erase’ his role for Seaquake.io, as his bio on that firm’s website, as well as that of the firm’s CEO and convicted felon Andrew R. Katz and that of “CTO” Dylan Knight were removed last month.
Krueger has apparently now re-invented himself as a venture building, consulting and financial modeling expert and offers his services through a newly-created entity called Krügs Consulting.
Krueger’s updated bio on LinkedIn suggests that he is a finance consultant and ‘venture builder’ under the auspices of “Krugs Consulting“. His LinkedIn bio suggests that he has operated this entity since 2018, although prior to the LinkedIn update, he made no mention of this entity, which is not registered to do business in California, or any other jurisdiction.
In his bullet-pointed prior roles and responsibilities, Krueger advertises that he is “an expert in financial models, fintech enterprises, cash settlement, and managing investor expectations”, and that he “built the financial model for a startup’s crypto mining operations for SOSV Chinaaccellerator.” He also says he was a former Head of Finance for Venmo.
Causing those who are familiar with the Seaquake Scoundrels to smirk. The Krugs Consulting website linked to Krueger’s LinkedIn profile does not display a bio of any principals of the firm, yet it indicates having offices in San Francisco, Wyoming, and Estonia. No great surprise as to San Francisco, as this is where he lives. Wyoming? Matt Krueger has proven to be fluent in establishing corporate entities (and closing them), as he has created a number of shell companies on behalf of Seaquake that are registered in Wyoming. Yet there is no Krugs Consulting registered with the State of Wyoming. Office in Estonia? Perhaps that is a favored place to domicile a crypto account these days?
Matthew J. Krueger, former CFO of Seaquake, now “principal of Krügs Consulting”
Krueger (not surprisingly) now makes NO reference to his 4-year tenure as CFO of Seaquake (or “Seaquack” as some refer to it), yet the SOSV reference on his updated LinkedIn profile is a tell, as that China-based ‘venture firm’ went to great lengths to promote the fact it had invested in Seaquake in 2020 (well after news of Seaquake scamming other investors became a matter of public record.) Though few are familiar with SOSV Chinaaccellerator, one can guess that they enable scammers as easily as Sequoia Capital did for Sam Bankman-Fried and his FTX Crypto Exchange.
Regarding Krueger’s Venmo role, a seasoned background check expert will tell you that Venmo HR records indicate he was terminated for cause.
So, in view of Krueger’s role at Seaquake, those seeking an expert in money laundering via off-shore crypto accounts, or how to open a bank account using other people’s identities, or those hoping for a playbook on how to craft fraudulent financial statements who can help perpetuate investor fraud schemes would find Mr. Krueger to be just the kind of co-conspirator for your next initiative.
Andrew Katz, the self-described CEO of “crypto trading firm” Seaquake.io, an individual whose escapades for defrauding investors and threatening those who have filed complaints against him have been profiled via this platform and other platforms for several years.
In addition to his ongoing efforts to dupe investors (with the latest attempt revealed below), Katz, who also uses the names Ross Katz and Stark Katz, and whose criminal arrest record extends nearly 10 years in four different states, is once again facing felony assault charges, this time in Miami, Florida. Miami-Dade County court records reveal that Katz faces multiple felony charges (Case # 13-2021-CF-005707-0001 ), including assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, false imprisonment, and witness tampering.
ON ABOVE DATE AND TIME THE FOLLOWING VICTIM OFFICERS RESPONDED TO A DOMESTIC DISPUTE INVOLVING THE DEFENDANT AND HIS PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND AT THEIR APARTMENT AT ABOVE LOCATION, MIAMI POLICE CASE NUMBER 2104010020299.
UPON ARRIVAL THE OFFICERS WERE ADVISED THAT THE FEMALE VICTIM WAS PREGNANT AND WAS BLEEDING. THE DEFENDANT REFUSED TO OPEN THE DOOR AFTER SEVERAL REQUESTS AND WAS WARNED THAT FORCED ENTRY WAS JUSTIFIED FEARING FOR THE SAFETY OF THE VICTIM. THE VICTIM OPENED THE DOOR AND THE DEFENDANT ATTEMPTED TO CLOSE THE DOOR ON THE OFFICERS. SGT. CARLOS MENDEZ# 04714 CAUGHT HIS LEFT ARM IN THE DOOR JAM, THE DEFENDANT GRABBED HIS ARM AND HYPEREXTENDED HIS ARM AND ELBOW BETWEEN THE DOOR AND DOOR JAM. FORCE ENTRY WAS MADE INTO THE APARTMENT TO TAKE THE DEFENDANT INTO CUSTODY.
THE DEFENDANT CONTINUED TO RESIST ARREST NOW USING VIOLENCE TOWARD ALL THREE OFFICERS AND WAS FIGHTING OFFICERS BACK INTO THE HALLWAY. DURING THE STRUGGLE TO TAKE THE DEFENDANT INTO CUSTODY, THE DEFENDANT GRABBED OFFICER MARCOS MARRERO #42514 TAZER AND ATTEMPTED TAKE IT SEVERAL TIMES. THE DEFENDANT THEN TOOK LT. RODOLFO BERTRAND #00377 RADIO DEPRIVING HIM OF RADIO COMMUNICATION. AFTER BEING TAZERED THE DEFENDANT WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT. SGT. MENDEZ #4714 RECEIVED INJURIES TO HIS LEFT ARM AND ELBOW. OFC. MARRERO #42514 HAD MINOR SCRATCHES TO HIS ARMS RECEIVED DURING THE STRUGGLE FOR HIS TAZER. LT. R. BERTRAND HAD MINOR BUMPS AND BRUISES FROM THE STRUGGLE WHILE HANDCUFFING THE DEFENDANT. DEFENDANT WAS TRANSPORTED TO JMH ER-C FOR PRECAUTIONARY TREATMENT. DEFENDANT ARRESTED.
Despite a February 2022 conviction for assault in New York City (for which he purportedly failed to appear for sentencing), Miami-Dade County authorities released Katz, pending an upcoming court appearance, after he posted $75,000 bail.
Since the April 2021 arrest in Miami, Katz has undertaken a social media campaign to publish multiple ‘interviews’ on blogs that enable people to promote themselves in exchange for a fee. To deflect negative stories, he has featured himself as a “successful crypto industry entrepreneur”. Per the lower left image, one individual who was recently solicited by Katz has cried “Bullshit!”
Below is the warning alert submitted by that individual in August 2022 via “Dirty Scam.com” a blog that ‘outs’ scamsters.
Editor Note: Katz has systematically rebutted similar accusations by impersonating victims and those associated with the victims by posting “comments” that include an array of defamatory and false allegations in an effort to discredit the accusers.At the same time, and despite Orders of Protection issued by courts in three jurisdictions, Katz has advanced retribution campaigns using burner phones and anonymous email accounts to harass, physically threaten and intimidate those who have brought charges against him. What a brave guy!
Andrew Katz of Seaquake recently contacted me for investment and loan purposes. We met at a party and talked about our businesses. He was interested in what I do.
After a few drinks, he suggested that he could help me in many ways in my business. Talking about his outstanding achievements, he said his company has a huge turnover and is a great player within the crypto industry.
He did tell me about his partner. If I correctly remember the name, it was Matthew Krueger. Although I did not meet this man, Andrew had painted his picture for me. We exchanged numbers and parted to our ways.
After a month, maybe, Andrew called. I recognized his voice right away. He said he was seeking some money for a considerable investment and would offer me a great deal in the profit earned. I was already excited about what he was offering.
But the amount was too huge. So, I asked him to arrange that kind of money for a couple of weeks. He was in a hurry and said that he could not wait. Then I asked him for two days. He sounded calm but still insisted on making it faster.
That was the red flag for me. In those few minutes, I did not ask about any paper works or any roadmap about the investment plan he had. But then it struck me mainly because he sounded too aggressive with the deal.
I started to Google him on the internet and his company. I was shocked that he was a fraud and a big liar. He has many felony charges to his name, and he is a wanted criminal. I called my lawyer right away and asked him to research this guy. To my surprise, he already knew Andrew.
I was saved. He told me everything about Andrew. This guy had felony charges for duping a family in Florida, assault charges, and whatnot. I blocked his number. However, I got a call from an unknown number after two days.
When I answered, it was Andrew. He started abusing me for leaving him in between a great deal after making promises. Without letting me speak, he went on talking rubbish. In the end, I shouted and asked him to calm down. I told him everything about what I knew.
He disconnected the call and never called back. This proves how great of a con artist this man is. He is a great liar and can easily make fake promises and boast about his non-existent company for hours. He can ruin your life without thinking about the consequences.
I give that to him. It is not easy to fool me, but he got me for some time. I am sure I had my lesson learned. And I am not going to believe anything he says anytime later. Stay away from this filth. He can burn your life instantly.
The individual who posted this experience did not provide his/her name and presumably posted anonymously in order to protect himself/herself from a barrage of retaliatory attacks from Katz.
All of this begs the question as to what other investors, including Crypto Industry Pioneer Brock Pierce and Blockchain Founders Fund, portrayed on the Seaquake.io website, have to say about all of this.
Editors Note: Efforts to secure comments from Miami-Dade County State’s Attorney Office, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Investor(s) Brock Pierce, and Blockchain Founders Fund principal Aly Madhavji were not responded to.
Andrew Ross Katz (aka Ross Katz), founder and CEO of Seaquake.io, a self-labeled “crypto trading firm” and “B2B service for cryptocurrency exchanges”, along with his partner, the firm’s Chief Financial Officer, Matthew Krueger of San Francisco, were first profiled by this outlet in September 2019 for their roles in defrauding a Family Office out of several hundred thousand dollars. And, while Katz remains at large–he continues to target a growing list of other unsuspecting victims.
The gory details of that incident and the series of blatant misrepresentations made by those individuals became a matter of federal court record when a federal lawsuit was filed in Florida’s Middle District Court, merely several weeks after the ink was dry on the investment agreement with Katz, Krueger and the assortment of Seaquake connected shell companies under their control.
The supporting evidence to allegations of investor fraud made by the plaintiffs included investor documents executed by Andrew Katz, a smorgasbord of other evidence underscoring blatant misrepresentations and phony assertions made by Katz and Krueger as to their personal and professional backgrounds, the investment itself, along with an extensive file of email and other digital communications sent by Andrew Katz, and with copy to Krueger.
According to the court documents, within days after the investors wired funds to a Seaquake entity, they learned of a series of misrepresentations made by Katz and Krueger, and demanded the return of their funds. In response, Katz and Krueger stated “they had no obligation to provide any information to the investors or the attorney for the investors, and would not respond further.” Days later, Katz and Krueger transferred the investor funds to other Seaquake bank accounts and to personal accounts in their names, and to a corporate account in which Katz’s father, Ken Katz of Arvada, Colorado is the registered agent. After transferring the funds, Katz and Krueger proceeded to dissolve the corporate registration of the entity to which the investors had sent their funds.
The preponderance of the incriminating evidence led the federal court judge to conclude the defendants had ‘touched the third rail’ of federal civil statutes pertaining to investor fraud and securities fraud. To mitigate further harm to investors, the judge issued an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) that put a freeze on the variety of corporate bank accounts held by the web of Seaquake corporate entities controlled by Andrew Katz and Matthew Krueger, as well as the known personal bank and brokerage accounts held by Andrew Katz and Matthew Krueger. Days later, Katz and Krueger moved the funds again, first to cryptocurrency platform Coinbase, and then to cryptocurrency custody and trading platform, Binance.*
In view of the brazen nature of the fraud perpetrated by Mssrs. Katz and Krueger, this financial industry- published a series of follow-on articles profiling the activities of this ‘enterprise’, as well as Katz’s sordid prior criminal history, including recent Orders of Protection issued against Katz, a litany of criminal arrests across four different states over multiple years on charges of harassment, aggravated assault, weapons charges, breaking and entering, and stalking. The most recent known arrest occurred in April 2021 and took place in Miami, Florida, when Katz was charged with 11 Counts, including multiple charges for assaulting a police officer:
FALSE IMPRISONMENT ( Bond: 5000 )
TAMPER/ WIT/ VIC/ 3D DEGREE FELONY ( Bond: 7500 )
RESISTING OFFICER WITHOUT VIOLENCE TO HIS PERSON ( Bond: 1000 )
RESISTING OFFICER W/ VIOLENCE TO HIS PERSON/ FIREA 3 CNTS ( Bond: 7500 )
ASSAULT/ AGGRAVATED/ POL OFFICER/ FIREFIGHTER/ INT 3 CNTS ( Bond: 7500 )
DEPRIVE OFFICER OF MEANS OF PROTECTION/ COMMUNICTN 2 CNTS ( Bond: 5000 )
A February 2022 conviction for assault charges in New York stemmed from his March 2020 arrest in which Katz assaulted his now estranged wife. Law enforcement sources have indicated there is now a subsequent warrant for violating the second Order of Protection, and a fugitive warrant issued in New York for his arrest. Katz failed to appear for sentencing on the assault conviction, then fled the jurisdiction, and supposedly abandoned a $100,000 cash bond. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office would not comment or explain why those criminal records are sealed. The New York Criminal Court records are also sealed.
This platform also pointed to a conclusion by another expert that Seaquake principals committed SBA Loan Fraud relating to a forgivable PPP loan granted to the company in the midst of the pandemic crisis. Public records show that an application was processed and a loan received by Wyoming-registered Seaquake entity “Seaquake OPS LLC” that listed employees of the company which included Katz’s then-estranged wife, who was listed as “Creative Director”. According to informed sources, “she was never an employee, and never performed any work for the company”. When asked why that individual’s profile appeared on LinkedIn as “Creative Director” for Seaquake shortly before the loan application was submitted, the source stated “She had never created a LinkedIn profile for herself, any less one that would include a fictitious employment history.” The corporate registration for the Wyoming-domiciled Seaquake entity that received the SBA PPP loan was dissolved four months after Katz and Krueger received the funds from the SBA.
Cryptocurrency Meltdown Calls for a Re-Visit
As fortunes implode and the crypto industry becomes un-hinged, the cause and effect of scammers, charlatans, and Ponzi-style schemes
The intent of our editorial team has been to protect other investors from being duped by Katz and Krueger, and from any others advancing similar frauds against unsuspecting investors. In our expose, we also spotlighted several “legitimate” crypto and digital asset investment firms that, according to the Seaquake.io corporate website, have purportedly invested in the Seaquake enterprise without bothering to perform basic due diligence that would typically include interrogation of court databases and criminal background searches.
The Seaquake website had (until recently) displayed Pierce and BFF Managing Partner Aly Madhavji as Advisors to the firm. Other investors displayed include “SOSV ChinaAccelerator”, a China-based VC and PE firm, Sydney; Australia-based alternative asset investment firm “Artesian Ventures”, a firm called “ScaleX”, and a little-known investment firm “Red Spark”. The latter is operated by a Stephen Gill, who resides in New York and Puerto Rico. Gill is also displayed as an Advisor to Seaquake. These actors either purposefully chose not to perform a scintalla of due diligence for their own reasons, or simply overlook the red flags before they deployed their respective investors’ capital to the Seaquake enterprise.
Since April of this year, four different “pay-to-promote yourself” blogs have published “interviews” of Katz, each of which profiled him as a “crypto entrepreneur”. Each of those obscure blog platforms (“TechBullion.com”, “Laptopsforless.com”, “ScoopIt.com”, and “VentsMagazine.com”) display purported interviews by “journalists” (who each use pseudonyms,) and showcase background information for Andrew Katz that among other “virtues”, includes him (i) “having worked as a securities industry trader and traded “billions of dollars”; (ii) that he “earned a Masters in Finance from Harvard University”, and (iii) that “Seaquake has been generating profits within fifteen months of being created in 2018.”
All very entertaining claims; yet all are false.
Financial Industry Background. Securities Industry regulator FINRA has NO record of Katz ever being employed in the industry. He claims to have worked for EFG Bank as a trader, yet a senior HR executive for EFG Bank stated “we have no record of his employment.”
UBS, the other financial industry firm that Katz claims to have worked for stated “we cannot confirm (or deny) having employed him.
2. “Academic Pedigree” “Harvard Masters in Finance”. Harvard University records indicate Katz did attend an online course for 1 year and earned a Master of Arts, (not Finance); comparable to degrees offered by the online University of Phoenix. As to other academic credentials, during his youth, Katz did briefly attend “World Wide Association of Specialty Programs”. This ‘school’ is “inthe business of serving desperate parents of troubled youths and specializes in improving the students’ aberrant social behavior..”
3. “Business Success“. The business he claims to be “generating profits since shortly after we were formed..”?
Katz disputes this himself in documents obtained from the civil lawsuit in Florida. Katz submitted an affidavit stating “investors were told the business is a start-up, does not generate revenue [no fewer profits] and is not expected to until first raising several million dollars in development capital.”
4. “Industry Entrepreneur.” Katz and Co also maintain personal and company Twitter accounts; each of which falls into the realm that Elon Musk has used to walk back his bid to acquire Twitter; the percentage of phony Twitter accounts is exponentially greater than what Twitter has stated in corporate filings. In this case, Katz’s personal Twitter account, @AndrewKCrypto (https://twitter.com/AndrewKCrypto) indicates his having 5346 followers. A simple interrogation discovered that all but ten of those followers are legitimate Twitter accounts. The rest are “bots” and all of those accounts are less than several months old, none have more than 5-10 followers; a classic ‘tell’ for those familiar with Twitter Inc.s failure to remove phony accounts. The same seems to be true for the Seaquake company Twitter account (@_Seaquake_); the account boasts nearly 5000 “followers”, yet 98% of which Elon Musk would say are “Phony Followers! All Bots!”
MarketsMuse has made repeated attempts to contact each of the investors displayed on the Seaquake website. Earlier this year, Ali Madhavji of Blockchain Founders Fund indicated that “BFF has no involvement with Seaquake”, yet his firm’s name remains prominent on the front page of the Seaquake.io website.
A representative of Percival Capital replied to us with a statement that “They [Seaquake] were not authorized to display Mr. Pierce on their website, and we requested them to remove that reference.” The Percival Capital representative did not dispute that Pierce and his firm are in fact investors. “SOSV” Managing Partner William Bao Bean stated that his firm is in fact an investor, but would provide no other information. Stephen Gill, nor any other individuals who seem to be affiliated with Red Spark or individuals associated with “Scalex” replied to a request for comment.
Law enforcement officials from Arvada, Colorado, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami are all familiar with Katz. They are aware that he uses aliases “Ross Katz” and “Stark Katz”, and of the assortment of harassment charges stemming from abusive messages and death threats delivered via email and burner phone [“purportedly’’] sent by Katz, each in retaliation against a variety of individuals, including those who have filed charges against him. Knowledgeable officials have suggested that ‘the tone and tenor of the messages, the history of arrest charges, the serial nature of his actions, and other corroborating records makes it clear that he [Katz] is a dangerous individual who continues to commit brazen acts.’ Added one expert, “It doesn’t take a trained criminal profiler to conclude that this individual will continue to pose a threat to others until such time as someone from the law enforcement community or a regulatory agency takes proactive measures.”
Begging the question as to how it is possible that Katz and his accomplice Matthew Krueger remain at large. Three former government prosecutors who are familiar with the matter expressed being “baffled” by the fact that Katz has been repeatedly arrested, but not successfully prosecuted and jailed. As to Katz’s current whereabouts, he was last sighted in April of this year, while mingling with Seaquake “co-founder” Dylan Knight at a Miami crypto industry conference. One individual who is known to be an acquaintance of Katz, and who requested anonymity, suggested that “he might be in a medical clinic and being treated Monkeypox.”
*The above-referenced Federal Civil Litigation was “dismissed without prejudice” on a technicality after the presiding judge ruled that the Florida Middle District Court had “no personal jurisdiction” over the defendants. Despite plaintiffs submitting evidence that Katz maintained a voter registration in Florida and that one of the Seaquake entities was incorporated in Florida, the judge recommended to plaintiffs that they re-file their action in a different court. One attorney who is only tangentially familiar with the case stated “The statute of limitations is still open for such an action to be advanced in the State of Colorado or the State of California.“
FEBRUARY 15 2022: ANDREW ROSS KATZ AKA ROSS KATZ WAS CONVICTED OF ASSAULT CHARGE IN NYC on Feb 7; FLEES AND FOREGOES $200K BAIL BOND; FUGITIVE WARRANT FOR ARREST ISSUED IN NEW YORK; KATZ NOW BELIEVED TO BE SENDING DEATH THREATS TO WITNESSES; CONSIDERED TO BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS
In a continuation of a bizarre story that MarketsMuse has been monitoring for more than two years, Andrew Ross Katz, the founder, and CEO of so-called digital asset/crypto trading firm Seaquake.io is now a fugitive after failing to appear for a series of court dates in New York Criminal Court and since being convicted on Feb 7 2020 of assault charges that were first brought in November 2020.
Court: New York Criminal Court Case # CR-020482-20NY (PUBLIC RECORDS EXPUNGED)
Arrest Date & Time: November 5 2020 09:30 Arrest
According to confidential sources, the ADA prosecuting the case had been warned at the early stages of the criminal proceedings of Katz’s extensive criminal background in multiple states, and that the ADA had been lobbied to request the court to deny bail, as the defendant should have been considered a flight risk. Katz’s criminal arrest record extends over many years in cities that include his hometown of Arvada, CO, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. Katz’s most recent arrest apparently took place in late 2021 in Miami, during the same time a cryptocurrency convention was being held in that town.
As to the charge of Aggravated Harassment, according to multiple sources, this particular charge is consistent with a behavior pattern that Katz has perpetrated repeatedly over the past years against various people (unrelated to the current charges). No less than four individuals who have had ‘run-ins’ with Katz, including former landlords, relatives, and aggrieved investors have each independently contacted MarketMuse to share respective incidences in which Katz has tormented them with physical threats via voice message and text messages sent by ‘burner phones’, as well as defamatory messages that Katz has posted on social media platforms, all in effort to intimidate these individuals in retribution for legitimate complaints they had made against him in various jurisdictions.
Editors note: Fugitive Katz’s ‘aberrant behavior’ seems to extend back to his adolescence, according to public court filings. While in his teens, he was dispatched by his parents to a Utah-based ‘educational facility operated by “World Wide Association of Specialty Programs” that, according to public records, “is in the business of serving desperate parents of troubled youths and specializes in improving the students’ aberrant social behavior..” Per link above, fugitive Katz and Alyson Katz (Andrew Katz’s mother) were members of a class-action lawsuit brought against “WWSPS”. (That suit was dismissed in 2011).
According to informed sources, soon after his disappearance last week, Katz has purportedly commenced a series of death threats against a separate individual (and immediate family members), who is a victim of financial fraud that Katz and partner, Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco are alleged to have committed back in 2019. It is believed the [purported] death threats that came from Katz (“purportedly, yet with high probability”, according to law enforcement officers familiar with the matter), are part and parcel to a lengthy history of intimidation tactics that Katz has exacted in retribution on those have filed charges against him.
To the amazement of those interviewed and familiar with the apparent criminal activities of Katz, Krueger, and associated entities, the individuals’ profiles, and respective current Seaquake.io executive roles remain displayed and promoted on LinkedIn (e.g. Andrew Katz, Founder & CEO; Matthew Krueger, “Partner & CFO” and the company’s website, which continues to publish “updates” that suggest the firm offers a range of “crypto trading and fintech applications and services to the cryptocurrency industry”. That website also displays a number of crypto industry investment firms that have purportedly made investments in Seaquake.
Most recent updates to that website suggest that funds managed by Crypto Industry Pioneer Brock Pierce‘s Percival Ventures, along with those from Blockchain Founders Fund, whose senior principal is Aly Madhavji, are investors in Seaquake. Both Pierce (a 2020 presidential candidate) and Madhavji are displayed as Advisors to the company on the Seaquake website. Sources have told MarketsMuse that Madhavji has denied having any connections to Seaquake, yet neither of these individuals or members of their firms has responded to outreaches by MarketsMuse for them to confirm or deny the information displayed on the Seaquake.io website.
(Source: Law360.com ) Andrew R. Katz, aka Ross Katz, aka Stark Katz an Arvada, Colorado man who is last known to reside in either of New York City or Southern California, and uses California, Colorado, Florida and New York drivers licenses while claiming to be a former FX trader for EFG Bank, and who now presents himself as co-founder of Seaquake.io, a”digital asset infrastructure company”, along with Seaquake CFO Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco, who claims to be a former PayPal “Finance Manager” and the former “Head of Finance” for Venmo, have both been named as Defendants in a Federal Court complaint alleging the two men advanced a systematic scheme to defraud a Florida-based investor group. Also named in the action is Dylan Knight, a UK man who is listed as a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for the company. The Federal Court complaint cites multiple accounts of securities fraud, fraud in the inducement, and wire fraud.
Andrew Katz Latest Arrest: April 2021 Miami Florida; 11 Counts
According to a Zurich-based private equity fund manager who had been repeatedly approached by Katz to invest, “All of the patented elements of old-fashioned investor fraud have been perpetrated by these Seaquake characters, casting yet another shadow of skepticism on the entire digital asset industry. It is amazing how brazen these individuals are. Based on their apparent actions, one can hope that law enforcement officials will do their jobs and prosecute these people quickly. Even if the wheels of justice spin slow, anyone in the industry should be alert to these people and be aware they have already destroyed any future professional career in any industry.”
According to the Federal Court complaint, Katz lists former jobs at UBS Bank and EFG Capital in investor offering documents, the company’s website, as well as his Linkedin profile, despite Finra having no record of Katz being licensed by that securities industry regulator at any time, and despite EFG Capital having no record of his employment. More importantly, the court filings include a series of email communications, text messages, and group chat messages on Linkedin in which Katz and Krueger made a series of fraudulent representations that induced the investors to enter into a so-called “SAFE Agreement” with the company. Investors were of the belief the funds would be deployed to a high-frequency trading application that Seaquake principals, including so-called CTO Dylan Knight of the UK, claimed to be operating.
JANUARY 2021 UPDATE: SEAQUAKE CO-FOUNDER ANDREW KATZ CHARGED WITH FELONY ASSAULT AND GRAND LARCENY IN NEW YORK; FACES MINIMUM 2 YEAR PRISON SENTENCE
BREAKING NEWS FEB 2022 UPDATE
ANDREW KATZ, CEO OF PURPORTED CRYPTO FIRM “SEAQUAKE.IO” CONVICTED OF ASSAULT CHARGES IN NEW YORK AND FLEES, LEAVING BEHIND $100K CASH BOND; NOW A FUGITIVE SOUGHT BY NEW YORK POLICE
According to the complaint, only several days after the investors executed the agreement with the company and wiring funds to a Seaquake account at Signature Bank in New York, Katz then informed the investors the high-frequency trading application was “not in fact in production and the [investor] funds would be placed into a money market account until such time as the software was ‘production ready.” Defendants Krueger and Katz also made a series of assertions as to pending institutional investors who committed to providing capital to Seaquake, all of which turned out to be false, according to the filing. According to court documents and independent background searches, it turns out that Katz has driver licenses in New York, Florida, Colorado, and California, and is also registered to vote in Florida.
UPDATE MARCH 2021: SEAQUAKE ENTITY ‘SEAQUAKE OPS LLC’, A WYOMING CORPORATE SHELL NOW SUSPECTED OF SBA LOAN FRAUD; APPLIED FOR AND RECEIVED PPP-RELATED LOAN
This latest charge adds to a pending list of other criminal matters, including a likely bank loan fraud perpetrated by Katz and Krueger in connection with Seaquake OPS LLC, a Wyoming entity that is part of the web of Seaquake companies. Recently discovered, Seaquale OPS LLC did in fact apply for and did receive a Paycheck Protection Loan of $22,813 through Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, which was approved in May, 2020. In that loan application, Selen Katz, former wife of Andrew Katz, and the victim identified in the felony assault charge is identified as an employee of Seaquake. Her title, according to a LinkedIn profile is “creative director” and her date of employment is the same month in which the PPP Loan was applied for.
Katz has a history of criminal charges, from trespassing charges in New York to domestic abuse charges in Los Angeles. This private investigator’s backgroundreport is telling. Other background searches indicate that Katz, along with his mother, Alyson Katz of Arvada, Colorado were plaintiffs in a class action law suit brought against a Utah-based school for emotionally-challenged youth, a facility that Katz was apparently sent to by his parents and attended for at least two years while he was a teenager.
If only Andrew Katz’s wife, Selen Katz, a Turkish national and Instagram Influencer who apparently works as aswimsuit model, didn’t need Katz to help her secure a Green Card. Otherwise, perhaps she’d realize that being married to a scam artist is not the path to a happy future in the U.S. More important, actions pending against Katz could raise eyebrows from US immigration authorities who will be evaluating her request for citizenship. She should hope that more recent frauds committed by her husband and his partner in connection with PPP loans don’t add fuel to the criminal investigation fire burning under their butts.
Back to the primary coverage….Once the investors realized they had been scammed and then demanded the return of the funds, Katz and Krueger took steps to dissolve “Seaquake Partners LP”, the corporate entity the investors sent their funds to, according to the corporate register agent. According to records in the filing, Defendants Katz and Krueger wrote to the investor informing “we will not communicate with your attorney and we have no obligation to provide any further information..” Concurrently, the Defendants transferred the investor funds from the company account at Signature Bank in New York to multiple, newly-created Seaquake entity accounts at a Compass Bank BBVA branch in California, near where Krueger lives. Thereafter, bank records indicate Katz and Krueger dispersed the funds to various internal company accounts, and then transferred a bulk of the investor’s funds to crypto exchange Coinbase, which they moved days later to crypto exchange and custody platform Binance.
As acknowledged by the defendants’ attorney, Yasin Daneshfar of Florida law firm Becker and Poliakoff, Katz and Krueger also moved tens of thousands of dollars to personal accounts the defendants established at Compass Bank. Attorney Daneshfar argued “the so-called “SAFE Agreement” did not preclude the defendants from dispersing the money as they saw fit.” Daneshfar further acknowledged in a recent court appearance that, in addition to the defendants enriching themselves with much of the investor’s funds, the investors’ funds have also been used by Katz and Krueger to pay the Becker law firm in their effort to defend themselves against the investors in federal court. When challenged with this use of funds by the federal court judge who pointed to the series of communications from Katz to the investors, Attorney Daneshfar was said to have responded to the judge with a smirk and a shrug of his shoulders.
While much of the information obtained in the federal court filings may seem to be the source of good fodder for a ten cent crime novel, according to one Switzerland-based venture capital executive who is focused on the digital currency space and who had also been solicited by Seaquake to serve as both an advisor and to provide investment funds, “All of the patented elements of old-fashioned investor fraud have been perpetrated by these Seaquake characters, casting yet another shadow of skepticism on the entire digital asset industry. It is amazing how brazen these individuals are. Based on their apparent actions, and whether or not they get caught by law enforcement officials, they have effectively destroyed any future professional career in any industry.”
Despite all of the shenanigans, David Streltsoff, a Senior Vice President for San Francisco broker-dealer “US Capital Global” and a former salesman for high-frequency trading firms was apparently not deterred from associating himself with Seaquake. According to his LinkedIn profile in the months of September through November 2019, Streltsoff served as “Business Development Executive” for the company, while also a registered broker-dealer for US Capital. Streltsoff’s rofile was updated at the end of November after Streltsoff was served with a federal court subpoena for information pertaining to his involvement with Seaquake. According to a former investigative journalist, now a due diligence advisor to fund managers evaluating crypto startups, Streltsoff told him “It took one too many days for me to figure out this company was peddling nothing more than vaporware, and the scam accusations against them were eye-opening, so I terminated my association with them.” Jeffrey Sweeney, the CEO of US Capital Global has not replied to inquiries.
Update: Since the litigation was filed, at least one other investor has been identified as having been scammed. That investor was apparently introduced to the company in June 2019 by a friend who was employed by Seaquake.io as “business development executive.” That friend sent the investor a so-called Safe Agreement, along with wire payment instructions to a Seaquake bank account held by a Bank of America branch in Colorado. Once that investor learned of the recent court action, the investor contacted Katz and demanded the return of the money sent to Seaquake in July. Katz replied via email stating “we have no record of having executed a Safe Agreement with you, and the former employee provided you with incorrect wire instructions, so we never received your money, and we don’t owe you anything.” When the investor provided Katz and Krueger with Bank of America correspondence that affirmed the Seaquake account information was correct and confirmation from the bank the wire payment had in fact been credited to the account Katz created, Katz ceased all further communication. That investor has since filed a criminal complaint and the former executive is said to be cooperating with law enforcement authorities. Perhaps Mr. William Bao Bean, a principal of SOSV Ventures / Chinaccelerator –which recently disclosed making an investment in “Seaquakes”, as did Jeremy Colless, Managing Partner of down-under VC “Artesian Capital” both failed to get the memo…(?)
In November, the federal court judge lifted the temporary restraining order on bank accounts controlled by Seaquake principals Katz and Krueger, and cited concerns as to whether the Florida court was the appropriate jurisdiction to litigate the action. Plaintiffs are expected to continue the litigation.
Katz was last seen in December at the Hotel Kai Tulum resort in Cabo San Lucas vacationing with his wife, who posted an assortment of photos baring ‘birthday bling’ while sipping margaritas.