Twist in $200 million crypto scam
Jilted investors in a defunct cryptocurrency company want to confirm the death of the business's founder by exhuming his remains.
Gerald Cotten, 30, held the virtual keys to a whopping $US137 million ($A199 million) in online currency kept in "digital wallets" when he died suddenly last year of complications of Crohn's disease, according to the BBC.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel condition, but is not usually fatal.
Mr Cotten was diagnosed with the condition six years before his death.
The QuadrigaCX founder was the sole person with passwords to the wallets - and only $US25 million ($A36 million) of the funds has been recovered.
The company had 115,000 customers.
Rumours have been swirling online that Mr Cotten faked his own death and ran off with the funds after an investigation by Ernst & Young alleged Mr Cotten had created Quadriga accounts under different names and that "substantial funds" were transferred to him.
The Ernst & Young investigation has also found Quadriga hadn't maintained proper accounting records since at least 2016.
The company owed around $A236 million to customers when it went bankrupt at the start of this year.
The professional consultancy firm also reported Mr Cotten didn't appear to have put in place appropriate measures to pass on the passwords in the event of his death, despite telling family members he had.
Lawyers for some QuadrigaCX customers have now requested the exhumation of Cotten's remains and an autopsy on the corpse "to confirm both its identity and the cause of death," claiming new information "further highlight(s) the need for certainty around the question of whether Mr Cotten is in fact deceased".
It's unclear how an exhumation would help people get their money back, Mr Cotten's widow, Jennifer Robertson, said in a statement to the BBC via her lawyer.
The widow "is heartbroken to learn of this request", adding her late husband's death "should not be in doubt", according to the statement.
Mr Cotten was in India at the time he died, where a statement from the company announcing his death said he was opening an orphanage to "provide a home and safe refuge for children in need".
His wife, named the sole executor of his will two weeks before he died, told a court she was not able to access the offline wallet housing the millions of missing dollars.
She said her husband's laptop was encrypted and she didn't know the password, which she has also been unable to find written down anywhere despite "repeated and diligent searches".
The QuadrigaCX scandal is the second major crypto-scandal to hit the esoteric market. In October 2017, self-proclaimed CryptoQueen Ruja Ignatova disappeared after bilking investors of more than $400 million dollars in her OneCoin scam.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission