back to article Oh no, Silicon Valley! Failed startup CEO on fraud rap after allegedly bullsh*ting staff and refusing to pay them

In an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, Isaac Choi, founder and CEO of failed Silicon Valley job search startup WrkRiot, was charged with five counts of wire fraud for allegedly defrauding former employees. Problems at the upstart surfaced in August when Penny Kim, former head of marketing for the company, published an account …

  1. MrDamage Silver badge

    Also know as...

    > "Yi Suk Choi, Yisuk Choi, Yi Suk Chae, and Isaac Chae"

    And once he starts sharing a cell with Bubba, he can add another name to hus collection. "Yusuck Meorf".

    1. zappahey

      Re: Also know as...

      "And once he starts sharing a cell with Bubba, he can add another name to hus collection. "Yusuck Meorf"."

      Because, of course, sexual assault jokes are always funny.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first

    "Bullsh*ting staff and refusing to pay them"

    Guaranteed to generate a WrkRiot.

  3. Alistair

    let me guess........

    The company was going to do the 'wikipedia' of employment opportunities?

  4. J.Smith


    He nicked my company's name, WnkRiot, I'm going to sue that slimeball.

  5. Your alien overlord - fear me

    How long does US banks take for a wire transfer? In the UK, it's literally minutes nowadays (from high street bank to high street bank). If someone showed me a confirmation slip, I'd expect the funds to be in my bank by the time I log in. Not there and I'd be kicking off immediately, not working for another month or however long these guys took to realise they'd been conned.

    1. jake Silver badge

      How hard is it to type a subject line?

      The funds transfer bank-to-bank at wire speed. Typically, they are visible to the payee immediately and available for use the next business day.

    2. Number6

      It can take longer occasionally. It's a much larger place and very often smaller banks and credit unions have an agreement with a larger organisation to act as a world-facing portal for them (potentially reduces the amount of infrastructure and staff you need), so there's an extra step. This may have changed in recent years, one place I use now manages same-day stuff when it used to take a couple so perhaps they've cut out the middleman.

      Had I been an employee, I think at some point I would have looked around at what company assets I could remove, to be redeemed when the money arrived in my bank. However, if it was a building with a few desks and PCs then that probably wasn't a viable option.

  6. Stevie


    By Jove this was a fiendishly clever plan that would have worked had it not been actually attempted in real life.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Dodgy employment agency plants fake job ads

    Except they were to get its own staff in.

    We are clearly dealing with a very high calibre of wit here.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy employment agency plants fake job ads

      We are clearly dealing with a very high calibre of wit here.

      I think you're only half right....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    long-term plan

    had he must have?

  9. Sherrie Ludwig

    Sounds like he should run for president. All the current qualifications. Mine's the one with an actual paper check (cheque) in the pocket.

    1. Jeffrey Nonken

      A paper cheque? You poor sod. To (possibly mis-) quote Roosta:

      "I only take hard cash. If I can't cut a window with it, I'm not interested."

  10. billdehaan

    Ah, the memories

    I dealt with a similar, but (marginally) less sleazy outfit back in the 1980s.

    Paycheques were deposited... sort of. That is to say, money was transferred from the company to the bank, but the amount would only cover a subset of number of employees. So if you acted early, you got your money out and into a different bank and were okay; if you took too long (ie. waited until the end of day), the money transferred would be exhausted, and you'd have nothing to show for it.

    It was all very clever, with the only problem being that the scam only lasted until the employee decided to withdraw funds, at which point the jig was up.

    Which is to say, it lasted one day. It's long like this was an ongoing situation.

    I can see a single pay period scam, but the idea that a company can be maintained for a long period without actually paying people is a lot more difficult to pull off than people think.

  11. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    Disruptive business model!

    "save a fortune using our service-we fail to pay employees and pass a small amount of the savings on to you!"

    Kind of like Uber but even skeevier! Which must be "better"!

  12. Aseries

    This sort of business behavior should have it's own category under TRUMPISTRY similar to Ponsi Scheme.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022