‘Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King’ Explained: How Did Gerry Cotten Scam His Users? Is Gerry Dead?


The sudden demise of the Canadian crypto entrepreneur, Gerry Cotten, caught the attention of journalists and internet sleuths. His death was extremely well-timed; just when his company was in shreds owing to the Bitcoin market crash, Cotten passed away, taking with him the passwords to the E-wallet. Thousands of users lost their money, which was nowhere to be found during the time. People started to speculate about the death. Was he truly dead, or was it a way for him to escape with all the money? Did he die due to Crohn’s disease, or did he pull the greatest digital scam ever? Netflix’s “Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King” embarks on a journey to bring forth the truth of the matter. This documentary is an engaging watch with numerous twists and turns.

Who Was Gerry Cotten?

People who knew Gerry Cotten described him as a young man who enjoyed silly pranks and always smiled. No one had ever seen him angry; he was always a happy boy-next-door guy who had an interest in the digital world. In 2013, Cotten launched QuadrigaCX, a bitcoin exchange company located in Canada. As a result, Cotten became the face of the rising interest in the new form of transaction. He was a young entrepreneur who lived the digital nomad life, attending meetings from every corner of the world. While life seemed good for Cotten during the digital currency boom, it also brought him to his knees once it started to crash. Users were trying to get their money back but were unable to do so. The site eventually stopped responding, and the company ceased to operate. At the time when the company collapsed, it owed its users both cash and cryptocurrency, a combined value of $215 million.

People who lost their money started to express their doubts regarding Cotten’s death. The fact that he died in Jaipur, India, while setting up a charitable organization sounded all the more dubious. People connected through a group chat on Telegram, where they discussed the possibility of Cotten being alive. After all, those who had lost their money could only get it back if they could prove that he was indeed alive.

After digging into the digital footprints of Cotten, it was discovered that he was not new to the game. He had previously scammed people online through an investment scheme. Therefore, the idea that Gerry Cotten could have faked his death to escape with the money started to become all the more concrete. With a business partner with a shady past and a wife who nobody barely knew of, numerous aspects of Cotton’s life raised suspicion. While people tend to be hopeful in trying times, with the QuadrigaCX scam, the results were not promising in the end.

Who Were Jennifer Robertson And Michael Patryn?

Michael Patryn was the former business partner of Gerry Cotten. People who knew the pair remembered them as being two opposite people. Gerry was famous for his tricks and jokes. Michael was not someone who fooled around. Gerry’s friends mentioned how he used to often agree with whatever Michael said, and that the power imbalance between the pair was quite visible. When people noticed how money had been transferred to other exchanges abroad, the creditors concluded that there was a larger play at hand. That is when internet sleuths and journalists started digging deep into Michael’s past. Michael was convicted of identity theft in the past. He used to be Omar Dhanani at that time. 

Michael and Gerry’s friendship/partnership dates back to the time when they used to interact on TalkGold, and Gerry used the name Sceptre. It is through TalkGold that he was able to set up and run two investment scams. This piece of information helped those who were trying to comprehend the matter realize that Gerry was not as simple as he portrayed himself to be. He was indeed a seasoned player with prior experience. While Michael was an initial suspect, he informed those investigating the case that he had left the company in 2016. But he indicated that he had his doubts regarding Cotten’s death as well as his wife, Jennifer.

Jennifer Robertson was on the receiving end of endless criticism. People raised their doubts when she had to announce that she did not have the passwords to the E-wallet. Ex-employees started discussing in the group chat about Jennifer’s inappropriate behavior at the funeral. She was having a party instead of mourning the death of her husband. To put the doubts to rest, a journalist from “Globe and Mail” traveled to India to learn the truth from the hospital where Gerry died. His report confirmed Gerry’s death, as the doctor provided him with every necessary detail. Gerry’s health had deteriorated significantly in a short period. 

With the possibility of Gerry’s fake death closed, the sleuths now suspected the wife of foul play. They believed she poisoned him, and that was the reason why no autopsy was performed. Gerry’s will also indicates that he has left all that he had for his wife. Jennifer’s sister expressed how the continuous shaming affected her at that time. She had to be shifted to a safe house to protect herself from public outrage. People connected her with the murder of Michael Forgeron, whereas her ex-husband (surname-Forgeron) was alive and well. The suspicion took a dark turn when people wanted Jennifer dead. The group was ready to believe anything they could get their hands on. However, why he wrote a will two weeks before his death continues to be a mystery.

What Happened To The $215 Million?

The most important question in the crypto scam case is: what happened to the money that was supposed to be there? A series of fake accounts were found. One was called “Sceptre Gerry.” Cotten used to credit these fake accounts with fake assets worth hundreds of dollars and thousands of cryptocurrencies. He used to credit the accounts of unsuspecting users with cryptocurrencies that never truly existed. He was the one to respond to their account by crediting them with fake cryptocurrencies. This was when the Ontario Securities Commission was able to comprehend why he was moving assets to other accounts. He used to trade the cryptocurrencies owned by other users on various platforms. He was essentially betting with others’ money, hoping to make money in some way or another, but he instead started to lose more than he could earn. He lost approximately $150 million by gambling with the money of others. This gradually led to a Ponzi scheme. 

When one user wanted their money back, Gerry used to take it from another user and pay them their money. His scheme shattered when people started to leave the Ponzi scheme; that is, everyone wanted to get their money back, and Gerry did not know how to compensate for it any longer. Even though a fraud had taken place, due to the death of Gerry Cotten, no law enforcement action could be taken against him.

“Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King” does not simply end with the revelation of the truth; it also questions the gullibility of those searching for answers. We do enjoy an elaborate conspiracy theory, something that will make us believe there is a larger picture at play, but often we end up entering a rabbit hole. The fact that the creditors are still looking forward to opening Gerry’s casket to verify his death shows how we prefer to live in denial to accepting the truth.

The Netflix documentary “Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King” will quench your thirst if you are searching for another scam tale. The story gets more and more bizarre as it progresses, keeping the audience glued to the screen. The documentary could have been better had it taken the time to explore Gerry’s past and the relationship between him and his wife. Nonetheless, the documentary brings forth an important lesson, something from which we can all learn and not get caught in another scammer’s den.

‘Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King’ is a 2022 Crime Investigative Documentary directed by Luke Sewell.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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