Ryan Francis Kennedy, the failed Dogecoin entrepreneur who stands accused of stealing more than $1 million from customers, has been charged with raping multiple women.
Kennedy, 29, faces eight counts of rape and two counts of assault by sexual penetration, the Gloucestershire Constabulary told the Daily Dot. The alleged rapes and assaults, carried out against five women, reportedly took place between 2007 and 2015.
According to the U.K.’s Bristol Post, which reported three additional alleged rapes and an additional charge of causing a woman to engage in sexual activity without consent, Kennedy pleaded not guilty to all charges on Tuesday at Gloucester Crown Court.
While the Bristol Post report does not connect Kennedy to the cryptocurrency world, multiple former employees of Kennedy's now-defunct company, Moolah, confirmed to the Daily Dot that the man pictured in the Bristol Post was their former employer. The photo also shows facial marks that match those of the Ryan Kennedy who founded Moolah.
“In my own opinion, he is a very, very dangerous man.”
“His face is something that I don't think I can ever forget, unfortunately,” Eoghan Hayes, a former Moolah employee, told the Daily Dot. “In my own opinion, he is a very, very dangerous man—and if the allegations held against him at the moment are true, then I truly hope he is locked away and is prevented from ever harming anyone in his trail of destruction again.”
Kennedy has gone by several aliases, including Ryan Francis and Ryan Gentle. In a now-deleted October 2014 blog post, he said he had legally changed his name from Ryan Kennedy to Alex Green, the name he went by in his dealings with the Dogecoin community. His legal name change could not be confirmed.
Before Kennedy’s arrival, Dogecoin was primarily a frivolous pursuit—a currency with so little value that it was but a plaything. But through his promotion of Moolah, Kennedy urged his users to think bigger: Kennedy and other Dogecoin users paid Will Ferrell to give Dogecoin a shout out and convinced a NASCAR team to bear the Dogecoin logo on its car.
Kennedy persuaded a number of users to invest in and use Moolah, which quickly became the dominant Dogecoin exchange company. As revealed in a Daily Dot investigation, Kennedy took nearly half a million dollars in Bitcoin investments from them, promising a share of the “Pie,” his term for the company’s profits, with seemingly no heed for international securities laws.
Not only did investors not quickly grow rich, when Moolah suddenly shut down in October 2014, the company’s customers said some $1.4 million of stored funds went with it. Kennedy claimed he’d been hacked and disappeared.
When asked specifically whether Ryan Kennedy was under investigation for online financial crimes, a detective at the Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Economic and Cyber Crime Team told the Daily Dot that he could not comment on specifics, as the case in question was still ongoing. He did say, however, that a suspect he could not name had been arrested, had made bail, and was still under investigation.
The detective, when asked about the rape charges against Kennedy, refused to name the Moolah founder but pointed the Daily Dot toward “a separate investigation that I cannot comment on as it is being run by another Police Force” at the Gloucestershire Constabulary, where officers confirmed the rape charges against Kennedy.
During Moolah's heyday, Dogecoin was extremely popular, traded far more times a day than even Bitcoin, by far the most dominant cryptocurrency. Its value tanked after Moolah's collapse, though, and while the r/dogecoin community is still alive, and has had a mild resurgence in January, it's still a shadow of its former self.
Update 9:51am CT, Feb. 4: Added comment and additional details provided by a detective with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Economic and Cyber Crime Team.
Additional reporting by Ned Donovan
Illustration via Max Fleishman