Former high-flying VC Rothenberg faces federal criminal charges – Business Insider – Business Insider

Former high-flying VC Rothenberg faces federal criminal charges – Business Insider – Business Insider

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  • The veteran high-flying San Francisco mission capitalist Michael Rothenberg is, for the first time, coping with prison prices over allegations that he defrauded shoppers in his mission fund.
  • The US attorney’s establish of business in Northern California announced the prices on Friday after investigations by the FBI and the IRS prison-investigations unit.
  • A whistleblower got here forward about Rothenberg’s industry dealings in 2016.
  • In a settlement with the Securities and Change Commission, he was once barred from the funding industry for five years and ordered to pay greater than $31 million in fines and disgorgement.
  • Visit Industry Insider’s homepage for further tales.

The veteran high-flying mission capitalist Michael Rothenberg is, for the first time, coping with prison prices over allegations that he defrauded shoppers in his mission fund.

The contemporary prices get been announced Friday by the US Lawyer’s Place of work for the Northern District of California after investigations by the FBI and the IRS prison-investigations unit.

Rothenberg has been below scrutiny for years over allegations that he chanced on ways to funnel money from shoppers to himself or his mission firm as an different of the utilization of the funds to get interaction shares in startups. The contemporary federal prices impart that he charged shoppers management prices above the contractual quantity they agreed to and lied to a monetary institution when applying for a loan. They additionally impart he happy shoppers to wire him $1.35 million to get interaction shares of a startup but then transferred the money someplace else and never sold the inventory.

All told, the US attorney’s establish of business mentioned it was once charging Rothenberg with 23 crimes for what it described as “extra than one schemes to defraud spanning from 2013 to 2016,” including wire fraud, monetary institution fraud, and making misleading statements to a monetary institution. 

The prison prices are the most modern troubles for the 36-yr-outdated who was once once regarded as an irregular but rising star of Silicon Valley’s mission world.

He was once identified for his lavish occasions and over-the-top standard of living till one day, his newly employed chief monetary officer told staff that the corporate was once out of money and would possibly presumably not pay them, Industry Insider reported in 2016.

That identical yr, a whistleblower got here forward to the Securities and Change Commission, Industry Insider reported on the time. The SEC then requested of us to talk with the FBI and the US attorney’s establish of business, a person finish to the subject told us on the time. TechCrunch and Backchannel wrote exposés.

The SEC was once first to behave. In a 2018 settlement with Rothenberg that accused him of “misappropriating” millions, the SEC barred him from the brokerage and funding-advisory industry for five years. A yr later a federal take ordered Rothenberg to pay greater than $31 million in prices stemming from the SEC case.

Friday’s prices are the first prison prices he has faced, which procedure that he’ll be sentenced to jail if chanced on responsible. Every wire-fraud worth carries a most sentence of 20 years in jail plus numerous penalties. The prices of monetary institution fraud and misleading statements to a monetary institution every raise a most of 30 years in jail and a $1 million beautiful, in accordance with the US attorney’s press launch.

One reason it ought to even get taken the US attorney four years after the whistleblower got here forward to allege these prices is that Rothenberg’s industry affairs get been a complex web of interrelated corporations and transactions, Drew Olanoff, one in all his veteran staff, mentioned. Olanoff is a veteran TechCrunch reporter who was once working for one in all Rothenberg’s corporations all around the time length when it ran out of money.

“On my procedure out the door, I saw it unravel. And because it unraveled it became very obvious: This was once extraordinarily complicated and complex for a reason — to masks issues,” Olanoff told Industry Insider.

Rothenberg did not retort to Industry Insider’s demand for comment.

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