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Silicon Valley CEO Pleads Guilty to $1.5m Fraud

A Croatian-born Silicon Valley CEO is facing serious jail time after pleading guilty to charges related to a $1.5m investment fraud scheme.

Renato Libric, former CEO of digital gift-card start-up Bouxtie [pronounced “bow-tie”], admitted overstating the financial prospects of the firm and forging documents that gave him authority to sell shares to investors.

The 39-year-old resident of Redwood City, California, is said to have taken several steps between August 2017 and February 2018 to persuade investors from a Las Vegas company to put over $1m into his business.

To do this he lied by claiming a large publicly traded company was interested in buying Bouxtie for $150m. Doubling down on the lie, he subsequently created a Term Sheet to back-up his claim, and forged the signature of one of the execs at the company ‘interested’ in buying his own.

He then sent that document, and a forged bank statement grossly exaggerating Bouxtie’s financial health, to the investors, according to the Department of Justice.

Although there was only $7642 in the corporate coffers, Libric falsified the statement so that the balance was over $2m.

He also placed the signatures of Bouxtie board members on another document designed to authorize him to enter into an agreement with the Vegas investors to receive $1.5m in exchange for shares.

After his antics convinced them to hand over the money, Libric is said to have immediately withdrawn over $130,000 and moved the funds to his own checking account.

Libric pleaded guilty to a May indictment of one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and 2.

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine, followed by three years of supervised release.

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