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mike novogratz crypto industry

The Tale of Crypto Talking Head Mike Novogratz

mike novogratz galaxy digital

For those not aware, Michael Novogratz, the famed crypto industry ‘pioneer’ and crypto evangelist is a former Goldman Sachs ‘global macro wunderkind’ who then did a stint at asset management firm Fortress Investments, which cratered during his watch, turned into a bitcoin evangelist and became the “bitcoin billionaire” brains behind “crypto investment firm” Galaxy Digital. He has a long history of making big bets with other people’s money. Unfortunately, his gambles have often turned into snake-eyes when the dice stopped rolling.

But that’s OK, his personal investment accounts weren’t exposed to the slaughter that was wreaked on Fortess’s institutional investors when his misguided bets on Brazil currency back in 2014 turned into sour coffee grinds. The losses on bets he made or oversaw devastated Fortess, yet the firm managed to extricate its stakeholders through an IPO, enabling Fortress executives to cash out with tens of millions of dollars each.  

“At Fortress troubles first surfaced in the macro funds run by Novogratz, a man known for his glitzy lifestyle, complete with a Tribeca duplex once owned by Robert De Niro and a flamboyant wardrobe featuring diamond-studded belts and cowboy boots.”

He quit Fortress to start a firm to invest his own wealth. He kept investigating bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, becoming more serious about the investments.

Over time, Mr. Novogratz came to see them as a “really cool new technology” that was likely better capable of storing value amid rising inflation than alternatives, he said at a recent conference. Soon, he was a true convert, buying $10 million of bitcoin and another cryptocurrency called ether partly because he sensed a lack of trust in global currencies, he said.  See https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-novogratzs-crypto-comeback-faces-a-trial-by-fire-11654315211

mike novogratz luna

During the past five years, Novogratz has become the poster child for crypto and bitcoin, “talking his book” at every opportunity, and helping to lead thousands of blind mice investors to pump up the price of bitcoin and to plow hundreds of millions of dollars into his firm Galaxy Digital (OTCMKTS: BRPHF) so that he could “invest for them”—while reaping fees that would make most people’s eyes pop out.

Throughout the unprecedented bubble building in crypto “currencies”, Novogratz and many other evangelists/promoters including Jack Dorsey, Elon Musk, Michael Saylor, Disney film star Brock Pierce, the Winklevoss twins, investing genius and former Donald Trump PR trumpeter Anthony Scaramucci, Internet Billionaire and Game Show Host Mark Cuban among so many others, have proclaimed that Bitcoin, Ether, Tether, and many others represent “a store of value”, “a hedge against inflation”, “a safe haven when traditional financial assets (stocks, bonds, sovereign currencies) suffer from global economic and geopolitical turmoil.” All the crypto evangelists, and in particular, famed hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, proclaim that Bitcoin and other so-called currencies represent the “digital version of gold“; which many global investors believe to be a useful hedging tool that should be part of every portfolio.

So let’s take a measure. Since January of 2022, the US equities markets (as measured by S&P 500 index, DJIA, as well as markets in many other advanced countries have suffered generational losses in share prices. The declines of 25% in value in equity prices are thanks to an inflationary spiral caused by supply-chain challenges brought on by Covid 19, monetary policies that created historic government hand-outs in an effort to stem the impact of Covid-19, along with a global geopolitical crisis thanks to Russia invading Ukraine, and a sober reaction to over-inflated enterprise valuations and hysterical stock market speculation. The combination of these events has almost no comparison when looking back five decades.

Yes, stock markets are cyclical and suffer bear markets and crashes; some short-lived, others longer-lasting. The global benchmark S&P 500 is off 24% from its Dec 2021 all-time high; the German Stock Market Index has shaved 20% from its high, and the Shanghai Stock Index is off 10%. Gold, the universal hedge against both geopolitical crisis and inflation, is up a scant 1% YTD. Bitcoin, the proclaimed “hedge against all of the above-noted crisis events” has plunged 69% from its stratospheric all-time high.

As of June 18 2022, Bitcoin has lost more than 60% of its “value” on a YTD basis.

Among other investments, Mike Novogratz, via Galaxy, was a big backer of Terra Luna–a platform based on Tether, the digital asset platform that was co-founded by another crypto genius, former child-actor Brock Pierce. He’s a self-proclaimed billionaire too–and many refer to him as the “Prince of Puerto Rico” in view of the real estate he has acquired and the influence he has over the swarm of crypto ‘entrepreneurs’ who have taken over much of that island.

Like Novogratz, Pierce is an active investor in a broad swath of crypto initiatives and start-ups, one of which is a phony funny, yet apparently, a fraudulent firm calling itself Seaquake.io, for which Pierce is identified as an advisor. It is also a criminal enterprise that MarketsMuse has profiled for the past two years, and its founder Andrew Katz, is now purportedly a fugitive from justice.

brock pierce investments
https://www.marketsmuse.com/founder-ceo-of-crypto-trading-firm-seaquake-io-andrew-katz-convicted-in-new-york-now-a-fugitive/

Let’s not forget that investments made by Galaxy included Novogratz and his partners receiving ‘tokens’ issued by the companies they invested in that were priced at pennies. Those tokens were no different than penny-priced ‘warrants’ given to underwriters of traditional IPO offerings.

After pumping the news of those investments, those tokens turned into ‘real money’ for the promoters—who cashed out into the frenzy and bought mansions and boats; reminiscent of the antics made famous by the infamous  Jordan Belfort’s firm Stratton Oakmont—the underwriter for the 1993 IPO of shoe company started by Steve Madden.

[Belfort and Madden were then convicted of securities fraud and both went to jail. Flash forward to 2021, Jordan Belfort repurposed himself into a crypto evangelist and is minting millions by ‘advising’ people on how and what crypto deals to invest in.]

February 2021– Novogratz Sees Bitcoin at $100k 

Bloomberg Technology- Michael Novogratz, a long time proponent of cryptocurrencies through his firm Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd., said Bitcoin and other digital coins have become “an institutional asset class” and banks are “frantically” trying to get in on the action.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-03-04/mike-novogratz-says-bitcoin-will-hit-100k-by-end-of-year-video

https://coinfomania.com/novogratz-says-crypto-is-closer-to-bottom/

Mar 31 2022 In Midst of Crypto Sell-Off, Novogratz Says “I’m More Constructive about the market than I was previously..” Michael Novogratz, the billionaire cryptocurrency investor who leads Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd., said that while he still expects a volatile year, he has become more “constructive” about digital-asset markets than he was earlier. 

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see crypto significantly higher by the end of the year,” Novogratz said during Galaxy’s earnings conference call on Thursday. “Given the adoption cycle I’m seeing, given the way markets trade, and how I see new people wanting to get in, the innovation we’re seeing in web3 and the metaverse space, I’ve gotten more constructive than I was at the beginning of the year.” 

No surprise then that soon thereafter, while talking up bitcoin investing and predicting meteoric price rises, he was selling stakes that his firm Galaxy Digital held in various “cryptocurrencies”.  Nice.  

May 9 2022 CEO Michael Novogratz highlighted weakness across crypto and equity markets during Galaxy’s earnings call Monday, though said he isn’t “panicked by any stretch.” He added that his recent investor meetings point to growing adoption, and noted that “crypto as a tech play” is gaining momentum.

“Volatility will continue,” according to Mike Novogratz, although he said he expects bitcoin to hold around the $30,000 level and ether to stick around the $2,000 level.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/05/09/galaxy-digital-records-q1-loss-of-1117m-amid-crypto-losses/

June 5 2022 Novogratz Says “Bitcoin Won’t Break $20k” speaking at the Morgan Stanley Financials Conference, the billionaire investor, known for always sharing his opinions on events surrounding the asset class, showcased his bullish stance on cryptocurrencies. 

Novogratz said he is confident that bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) would not crash below $20,000 and $1,000, respectively.

The crypto proponent stated that the two leading cryptocurrencies would hold strongly at those levels while noting that the benchmark of S&P 500 (.SPX) has dropped more than 20% from its record high earlier in January, and the stock market might plummet further to 15% to 20%.

June 15 2022 “Crypto Crisis Evokes 1998 Hedge Fund Crash that Crippled Market”

That’s what Mike Novogratz, CEO of top crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, told CNBC Wednesday (June 15), referring to the 1998 collapse of a large and highly leveraged hedge fund that sent shockwaves so large through the economy that the U.S. government was forced to intervene and broker a $3.6 billion bailout.

June 18 2022  BTC sold down to $18,500.00

Our Editorial Team begs to ask the question, “Aside from making mediocre investment managers become multi-millionaires and billionaires, along with similar exponential gains in net worth for tens of hundreds (and upwards of many thousands of “innovators” and “disruptors”), what product or service, or what actual efficiency has been created for any industry that would justify the outsized gains in net worth afforded to a relatively few?” Contact Us to provide a rebuttal.

andrew-katz-seaquake-felony-assault-charge-new-yhork

“Crypto-Trading Firm” Founder Andrew Katz Now Faces Felony Assault Charges

Andrew Katz aka Ross Katz aka Stark Katz, the co-founder of so-called digital asset infrastructure and crypto-currency trading firm Seaquake.io, who along with his partner Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco are facing investor fraud charges, is now slated to appear in New York Criminal Court April 30 to answer one count of felony assault, one count of grand larceny and one count of aggravated harassment. Katz, whose bail was set at $200,000 had him posting $100,000 in cash, which sources believe to have emanated from funds that Katz and his partner Matthew J. Krueger of San Francisco hoodwinked from a Florida-based family office 18 months ago.

andrew-katz-matthew-krueger-seaquake-investor-fraud
Seaquake’s Matthew Krueger (L), Fugitive Andrew Katz (R) http://www.seaquake.io)

FEB 12 2022 UPDATE: ANDREW KATZ CONVICTED OF ASSAULT CHARGES IN NEW YORK; FLEES AND FORGOES $200K BAIL; NOW A FUGITIVE WANTED BY NYPD

Reward Offered For Information Leading to Apprehension of Founder of so-called “crypto trading and digital asset infrastructure firm”. DO NOT APPROACH SUSPECT: CONTACT NYPD AT 1-800-577-TIPS, OR SUBMIT TIP TO CRIME STOPPERS WEBSITE VIA THIS LINK

The case document is via New York Court System Case CR-02020482-20NY, The victim of the assault is Katz’s now-estranged wife, Selen Katz, a Turkish immigrant who appears to make her career as an Instagram fashion model.

Felony Assualt Victim, Selen Katz,

Defendant Katz, who apparently still promotes himself on the firm’s website as co-founder of the so-called digital asset infrastructure company “Seaquake.io” was arrested this past November in New York and now faces 2nd Degree Felony Assault Charges (a class D felony), one count of Grand Larceny ( an E Felony) and one charge of aggravated harassment. If Katz is found guilty or if decides to plead guilty and save the court system the aggravation of having to deal with him, he could be sentenced to a minimum of 2 years in prison.

Katz and Krueger, who have been labeled “the Crypto Kleptos” and The Seaquake Slimeboys” by several people interviewed, are also said to be facing a pending list of other criminal matters, including SBA PPP bank loan fraud. Public records indicate that Mssrs. Katz and Krueger applied for a PPP loan for Seaquake OPS LLC, a Wyoming entity that Seaquake corporate presentations have identified as one of several Seaquake companies. Seaquake OPS LLC did receive a Paycheck Protection Loan of $22,813 through Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, in May, 2020.

Whether Katz or Krueger (or jointly) prepared the loan application when listing employees, Katz’s estranged wife was identified as the company’s Creative Director (whose employment with Seaquake, according to her LinkedIn profile, started in April of 2020. Informed sources have since indicated that Ms. Katz had no recollection of ever having created a LinkedIn account, and has stated she was never an employee of any Seaquake entity. According to police records in Los Angeles and New York, the current assault charge is the latest in a series of at least five prior domestic abuse arrests for Katz.

Manhattan District Attorney’s office would not provide details as to Katz’s current place of residence, yet he is suspected of squirming through an assortment of Airbnb rentals in Southern California while awaiting his April 30 court appearance, as well as New York City. In various documents, Katz also lists residences in Arvada Colorado (belonging to his parents Ken and Alyson Mahl Katz), and he lists addresses in California and Florida in various bank account documents obtained by court order. According to public databases, Katz has prior assault charges, along with charges of harassment, breaking and entering, and stalking throughout the past several years.

In the Florida securities and investor fraud case, in which defendants Katz and Krueger are charged with defrauding a Family Office it’s alleged that the Seaquake Slimeboys (mis) represented they were operating a start-up business and told investors that their several hundred thousand dollar investment in August 2019 “was for balance-sheet purposes only and to show pending venture investors the company did have other investors and assets on the balance sheet”. Communications sent by Katz to the investors indicated a small portion of the capital would be deployed to a proprietary “high-frequency trading” application for crypto currencies.

Alas, there were no pending VC investors, and there was no actual trading application. Katz and Krueger moved the investor funds from one bank to another, and then to a Coinbase account, and thereafter to crypto exchange Binance. It is easy to suspect that Katz and Krueger (a former PayPal employee fluent in cryptocurrency) have been enjoying the 6-fold increase in the price of bitcoin since the initial investor fraud took place.

PPP Loan Fraud

PFE Covid-19 Vaccine: Will Biden Now Go After SBA PPP Loan Scammers

With today’s announcement from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) indicating they are that much closer to a Covid-19 vaccine, its time to look forward to who the Biden administration will appoint to prosecute the tens of thousands of SBA PPP loan scammers who reaped tens of billions after the Trump administration made it a simple feat to fill out a form and run with the money.

The SBA has recently published a list that contains thousands of companies that received over $150k each. Many received several million dollars. And, the SBA is scheduled to release an even more comprehensive list comprised of tens of thousands of companies that received less than $150k. The current list and the one soon to come out provides a roadmap to criminal enterprises and unsavory categories.

Propublica is making the interrogation easy for amateur sleuths.

Take for example a company known as SOSV Payroll LLC, and its interesting connection to a company profiled here last year, “Seaquake.io”, which appears to be not much more than a spiderweb of intertwined shell companies that claims to build software applications for trading cryptocurrency. Our prior reporting has led most to appreciate that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck, and within the context of investor scams, Seaquake is the queen of ducks, especially when its former business development executive stated “they sell nothing but vaporware and nobody has bought it, other than investors who were deceived into buying into the company.”

SOSV Payroll is a Delaware entity with a principal office in Princeton, NJ and according to corporate filing records, is structured as a “Foreign Limited Liability Company.” The company also registered with the State of Colorado in February 2019. According to SBA PPP loan application documents filed in April 2020, they say they have 30 employees. The SBA PPP loan was approved and made via First Republic Bank for somewhere between $350k-$1million.

Of interest, this entity is a direct affiliate of Ireland-based venture fund “SOSV, The Accelerator VC”, which claims to have $700m in AUM. Soon after receiving the SBA loan, SOSV announced they made a direct investment in the above-mentioned Seaquake.io, a holding company with multiple corporate shells including in Colorado. More relevant, Seaquake has been a defendant in multiple actions, including allegations of investor fraud brought against Seaquake CFO Matthew Krueger and co-founder Andrew Ross Stark aka Ross Stark aka Stark Katz. According to criminal background searches, Katz has a lengthy history of charges ranging from breaking and entering to domestic violence to stalking.

UPDATED MARCH 2020: Add a 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.

We don’t know why an affiliate to a $700m AUM Ireland-based venture fund needed to apply for an SBA PPP loan. We don’t know if it’s kosher or not. We do know that the SBA PPP loan program has been exploited by tens of thousands of firms. How or if President-elect Joe Biden and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, the former California Attorney General will be able to claw back and/or prosecute those who submitted false loan documents and received taxpayer money is a question that may never be answered. The good news is that detailed data regarding more than $100bil in loans handed out, including the business names and addresses pertaining to the millions who received loans in amounts under $150k is expected to be released in December.  

The above-referenced Seaquake enterprise (first exposed by MarketsMuse last October after Law360.com published a federal lawsuit against the company and its principals) also has corporate shell registrations in California, Wyoming, Florida, and the United Kingdom (at last count). According to confidential sources, at least two of its subsidiaries will be unveiled for having received SBA PPP loan support, despite former insiders acknowledging the company has no product, has no customers, and no documented salaried employees, other than Mssrs. Katz and Krueger, and in April (immediately prior to submitting loan applications), a new LinkedIn profile indicated this company added a “creative designer”, who also happens to be co-founder Katz’s wife. Ms. Katz also appears to be a fashion model and Instagram influencer, according to her profile at www.instagram/seloupe.

Now that Pfizer appears to be one step closer to solving the Covid-19 vaccine crisis, one can hope that we will all go back to business, including SBA, IRS, and state fraud investigators, who can focus on bringing SBA loan predators to justice.

digitalassets-cryptocurrency-trading-fraud.

Another Cryptocurrency Trading Scam-Former NYSE Floor Broker Charged

In a scheme that reads much like the MarketsMuse story published in October profiling so-called digital asset firm Seaquake.io, whose principals Andrew Katz and Matthew Krueger fraudently claimed to be operating a high-frequency trading system for cryptocurrencies, Michael W. Ackerman of Ohio, and a former NYSE floor broker, was charged yesterday by the US SEC, the CFTC and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York for defrauding investors out of $33million in the course of operating cryptocurrency trading scam.

Ackerman, much like Seaquake’s Katz and Krueger, provided investors with phony documents that claimed his firm’s two entities, Q3 Trading Club and Q3 I LP, operated a HFT trading firm that developed a “proprietary trading algorithm” for trading cryptocurrencies. As it turns out, Ackerman, along with with two other defendants charged in the case, used their investors’ funds to purchase homes, cars, jewelry and other personal items. One can only guess that Katz and Krueger of Seaquake stole Ackerman’s playbook for how to defraud investors, as Ackerman apparently first advanced his scheme in 2017 and continued until 2019 according to the charges.

While Katz and Krueger have not yet been hit with criminal charges in their cryptocurrency trading scam, the Ackerman timeline would suggest that the Seaquake operators, who still maintain a company website and are purportedly still soliciting investors, can expect an early morning knock on their doors sometime soon.

The Ackerman Q3 saga has been reported by multiple outlets.

SEC’s complaint

Michael Ackerman allegedly raised $33 million in a fraudulent crypto trading scheme. Further, Ackerman and his two partners misled investors by claiming they had developed an extraordinarily profitable crypto trading algorithm. One of the partners was a doctor. (CrowdFundInsider)

According to the SEC, around 150 investors, including many in the medical fraternity, lost money in the alleged fraud. The perpetrators floated Q3 Trading Club and Q3 I LP – two entities that enabled the digital currency investment offering.

The SEC also alleged Ackerman used most of the money raised from the hapless investors to buy jewelry, cars, and to purchase and renovate a house.

Moreover, he lied to investors about the profitability of his trading, the status of the funds and their safety.

He “doctored” computer screenshots of trading accounts to give a false impression that they held as much as $310 million.

“Ackerman exploited popular interest in digital assets as a means to obtain millions of dollars for his personal use,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office.