Rogers, who ran an investment fund with George Soros and wrote the book “Investment Biker,” said he had briefly been a “skeptical adviser” about the project because he didn’t expect it to work. He added that he had never bought cryptocurrencies, let alone through Mr. Hannum.
“I’ve never heard of him,” he told me over email. “This is all nonsense.”
Hannum was somehow connected to the failed company: He worked at a marketing company in Santa Monica, Calif., called Hawke Media, which helped him out, according to Erik Huberman, Hawke’s CEO.
A guide to cryptocurrencies
I was unable to find evidence that Mr. Hannum made any venture investments, let alone $100 million worth. And it’s unclear exactly how he came to ZenLedger. Pat Larsen, CEO and founder of ZenLedger, did not contact me by phone and did not respond to any of my emails. I also wanted to know if he had read the great Forbes profile, where Mr. Hannum described how he had been an early backer of ZenLedger.
Rob Ford, a third-party spokesperson for ZenLedger, tried to clarify a few things. He said that Mr. Hannum did not invest in ZenLedger and that Mr. Larsen had not read the Forbes article. The company does not believe that Mr. Hannum has ever misrepresented the company itself, he added.
(The IRS connection is real: ZenLedger has four contracts, totaling $509,600, under the corporate name Blockchain Analytics and Tax Software LLC. The agency said the contracts generally remained in place until they expired. “However,” it added , “Government contracts, including this one, are subject to continual review under federal contracting rules”).
So how did Mr. Hannum end up at ZenLedger?
“Mr. Hannum was referred to ZenLedger through a professional relationship and passed a federal background check with no indications regarding his education or employment history,” the company statement says. “Once it became apparent that had misrepresented his education and employment history, as well as the nature of his role at ZenLedger, his employment with the company ended that day.”
A federal records check is never a bad idea when hiring someone, but it probably wouldn’t raise red flags about a person’s professional or educational background. So if ZenLedger wasn’t asking the right questions, what about its investors?