USA v. Nerayoff and Hlady, Cr. №19-MJ-830 (E.D.N.Y. filed September 19, 2019)[NMR]
A bedrock principle of the American legal system is the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. The government must prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt before you are convicted of a crime. What does that mean? Oversimplifying a little, the evidence has to be so overwhelming that no reasonable person would look at it and think “yeah, the defendant is totes innocent.” [That is a *direct* quote from a jury instruction in the eastern district of millennial — SP]. But, remember, the government has to prove the case. This new criminal case comes out of the Eastern District of New York and the allegations are pretty incredible.
So, where to start? The US government has arrested Steven Nerayoff and Michael Hlady for allegedly running an extortion scheme to extract funds from a Seattle based blockchain company referred to as Company 1 in the complaint run by John and Jane Doe. Who are the defendants? Well, Nerayoff is a licensed attorney in the State of New York who runs a couple of consulting companies that purport to help blockchain companies launch ICOs, etc. Also, Nerayoff is the self-proclaimed architect of the ICO, specifically, the Ethereum ICO.
Hlady was hired by Nerayoff to be his Chief Operations Officer at one of his companies. According to the complaint, Hlady allegedly, and I quote:
“falsely claimed to be a former member of the United States military and a former government agent who had worked for the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency.”
I submit to you dear reader that almost no one fits that profile.