Source: a video screenshot, DST NATIONAL CHANNEL / YouTube
Stephen Harrison, a British actor based in Thailand, has publicly apologized for his involvement in the HyperVerse cryptocurrency scandal.
Harrison, who was paid to impersonate the CEO of the now-defunct crypto scheme, claims he was unaware of the fraudulent activities surrounding the company.
What happened with HyperVerse?
The HyperVerse scheme collapsed amid allegations of fraud and mismanagement and left countless investors out of pocket, with losses estimated at a staggering $1.3 billion in 2022 alone, according to Chainalysis.
Harrison, who portrayed the fictional CEO Steven Reece Lewis during the scheme’s launch in late 2021 and early 2022, has expressed deep remorse for those affected.
“I am sorry for these people,” Harrison said in an interview with The Guardian, acknowledging the pain and financial loss suffered by the investors.
“I do feel deeply sorry for these people, I really do. You know, it’s horrible for them. I just hope that there is some resolution.”
Harrison’s involvement began when a friend of a friend approached him with an opportunity to work as a corporate “presenter” for HyperVerse.
At the time, Harrison, a freelance television presenter and unpaid football commentator, was seeking more work and experience.
Despite initial suspicions about the legitimacy of HyperVerse, Harrison was reassured by his agent and decided to accept the role after conducting his own research.
The actor was paid 180,000 Thai baht (approximately A$7,500 or £4,000) over nine months for his services, which also included a free suit.
His contract, provided by an Indonesian-based talent agency called Mass Focus Ltd., which has no record on the Indonesian company register, was for a three-month renewable retainer, requiring up to six hours of work per month.
Harrison Says He Had No Real Involvement in the Company
Harrison emphasized that he had no real involvement in the company’s operations. What’s more, he had no contact with the company’s controversial figures, such as Australian blockchain entrepreneur Sam Lee or Ryan Xu, both associated with the collapsed Blockchain Global.
The scam unraveled after Guardian Australia’s investigation revealed that the credentials presented for Steven Reece Lewis, including degrees from prestigious universities and over a decade of experience in fintech, were entirely fabricated.
Harrison, who only learned of the false credentials through the investigation, was “absolutely shocked” at the revelations.
In the wake of these developments, Harrison’s true identity was exposed by US-based YouTuber Jack Gamble, prompting the actor to come forward and share his side of the story.
Harrison had no control over the Twitter account run under the fake CEO’s name, nor was he involved in the endorsements from celebrities like Apple founder Steve Wozniak and actor Chuck Norris.
As reported, court documents show that HyperVerse crypto promoter Rodney Burton, better known as “Rodney Bitcoin,” has been arrested.
Burton has been charged with operating and conspiring to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
While Burton was apprehended in Florida, his case is awaiting transfer to the state of Maryland.
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