Michael Edwards: The Fake CEO of Centra Tech

By Louie Fecou
Published: January 9, 2024 (Last updated: 5 weeks ago)
Michael Edwards: The Fake CEO of Centra Tech
Andrew Halayko aka "Michael Edwards" | Image via Netflix

Michael Edwards was the first CEO of Centra Tech, at least on paper. However, as revealed in the Netflix documentary Bitconned, he was a fiction created by Ray Trapani, Sam Sharma, and Robert Farkas to add a veneer of legitimacy to the company. His background was completely fake, and his image was the first result Googled returned for a search of “old white guy.”

Was Michael Edwards a real or fake CEO of Centra Tech?

Michael Edwards was completely fake — an invention to give Centra Tech a sense of legitimacy. His face, though, was pulled from Google and belonged to a professor named Andrew Halayko.

The name of Michael Edwards is seen on the website of the company Centra Tech and he was described as an investor who had been so impressed by the company that he became the CEO. His bio on the site had a link to his social media pages and revealed he was a banker with a twenty-year career behind him. It was stated that Michael was an expert when it came to investments and was an integral part of Centra Tech.

As investigations into the operation of the company became more intense, a press release would claim that CEO Michael had died in a terrible accident, leaving his pet dog behind. However, it was explained by Trapani himself in the documentary that Michael was a fake CEO that had never existed, and was created by the team to give their company a more believable façade. A Google search would provide them with a picture they could use on their site to create the illusion that the company was not being run by three young men.

Michael Edwards Fake Death

The team would say that Michael had died in a car crash after the company started to crumble under the weight of an investigation that was looking into their dealings. The truth of the matter was, of course, there was no Michael Edwards, and his persona was fake, so he hadn’t really died.

Andrew Halayko: The Face Used For Michael Edwards

The image that was used to create the mysterious Michael Edwards came from a random Google search conducted by Trapani who searched for an image of an “old white guy” to prop up the fake structure of Centra Tech. The image was of Andrew Halayko, who appears in the film to confirm that he had nothing to do with the scam operation, and was just a victim of circumstance.

Andrew was a professor at the University of Manitoba in Canada and had nothing whatsoever to do with Centra Tech. In the documentary, Andrew reads his fake obituary.

Why did Centra Tech use a fake CEO?

Trapani felt that the business would have more clout if they created a CEO who looked like they knew what they were doing, so the persona of Edwards was created. However as things started to escalate out of control, more and more people wanted the company to provide them with Edwards himself. Since he did not exist, the decision was made to “kill the CEO”. A press release would emerge that stated he had died.

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