Is it the accounting method or is STEVE lying?
For the former, the answer is yes. The contracts and bookkeeping are standard for this sort of product / industry. I think most just didn't understand. If anyone thought that these contracts meant guaranteed money upfront / monthly, they were lying to themselves.
For the latter, my opinion is.. depends. It depends on your own sensitivity and interpretation of dishonesty. He undoubtedly fed the hype by putting things in the most favorable light possible so traders would run with crazy fundamentals. Many feel misled by this. I feel.. (assuming this is a legitimate venture) there's debt on the books, and if you want this thing to succeed long-term, then you gotta crack a few eggs today for the tasty omelette tomorrow.