June 16, 2024

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The Securities and Exchange Commission charges Frank founder Charlie Javis with defrauding JPMorgan Chase

The Securities and Exchange Commission charges Frank founder Charlie Javis with defrauding JPMorgan Chase

Charlie Javis, the 31-year-old founder of the startup who was accused by JPMorgan Chase in a December lawsuit of lying to the bank as it prepared to take over its company, also now faces criminal charges.

On Tuesday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York accuse her With fraud in wires, banks and securities. She said she “wrongfully and dramatically” exaggerated the number of clients that Frank, the now-defunct college financial planning firm, had in a plan to “fraudulently induce JPMorgan Chase to acquire” her startup for $175 million.

JPMorgan made similar accusations after acquiring Frank, which it claimed helps millions of students and families seek financial aid more easily.

Ms. Javis, a Miami Beach resident, was arrested Monday night at Newark Airport in New Jersey.

Three of the charges she faces each carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. A spokesperson said she denied the allegations. Her attorney Alex Spiro declined to comment, as did JPMorgan.

According to a complaint by federal prosecutors—W similar one Also filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday — Ms. Javis inflated the data to show the company had more than four million customers when it had only a fraction of that.

The scheme involved, according to government claims, hiring a professor to create fake accounts in an effort to trick JPMorgan into believing there were actually four million users.

The U.S. Attorney’s complaint included a slide titled “Frank’s Thesis,” which was taken from a company presentation intended to attract potential investors or acquirers. There, the company boasted that it was an “acquisition machine” that knew “more about our students than any lender, college, or employer.”

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In fact, according to the government, Ms. Javis oversaw efforts to build a list of fabricated clients by obtaining names, contact information, and other data from third-party companies. Frank then passed these names on to JPMorgan as its existing customers.

In the JPMorgan lawsuit, the bank said it became suspicious when a marketing test using Frank’s data failed radically. The company also sued Olivier Amar, who was Franck’s chief growth and acquisitions officer before he was terminated by the bank.

Mr. Ammar’s name was not mentioned in the complaints opened on Tuesday. Neither he nor his lawyer returned messages seeking comment.

When Frank’s director of engineering questioned the legality of one of Ms. Javis’ data manipulation requests, according to the government’s complaint, she replied that no one would end up in an “orange jumpsuit” over her. Refuse to respond to the request.

According to prosecutors, the terms of the JPMorgan acquisition and subsequent retention agreement could have left Ms. Javice with more than $45 million. Now, the SEC is Pursuit To force it to give up “all ill-gotten gains”, including interest, and also pay fines.

“Even early-stage companies that are not public should be honest in their representation,” Grewal, director of enforcement at the SEC, said in a statement. “And when they fall short, we will hold them accountable, as in this case.”