back to article Silicon Valley CEO thrown in the cooler for three years, ordered to pay back $1.5m for bullsh*tting investors

The CEO of a Silicon Valley startup has been jailed for three years, and fined $1.5m, for defrauding investors in his gift-card app business. Croatian Renato Libric was sentenced [PDF] this month in a California court for what prosecutors called an "elaborate fraud carried out over a period of months." His startup, Bouxtie – …

  1. J. Cook Silver badge

    Just gonna quote Mr. Rogers here...

    Know when to hold em,

    Know when to fold em.

    Know when to walk away,

    Know when to run.

    This one forgot when to walk away, obviously.

    1. The Nazz

      Re: Just gonna quote Mr. Rogers here...

      Technically, you're quoting Kenny Rogers "quoting" Don Schlitz. But i won't quibble.

      On topic, wouldn't it be wonderful if justice was applied consistently.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just gonna quote Mr. Rogers here...

        @The Nazz: To scrutinize like that, could anyone ever quote an Elvis song?

  2. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

    Ok, now this is FAKE NEWS

    >>venture capitalists were insisting on seeing actual revenue before investing because they sensed the app economy bubble was about to burst.

    That has never happened in the history of Silly-con Valley! venture capitalist with common sense? as if...

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Ok, now this is FAKE NEWS

      So he screwed a Venture Capitalist ... That's a first - normally it's the other way around.

      When the VC's call you all they want to know is, "Do you have more than $2M income?" otherwise they just fade away ... they call this a "startup" but if you have more than $2M income I think you are way past the startup phase. VC's have zero interest in real startups or "investing" - they just want to tap into your income.

      1. Sam Paton

        Re: Ok, now this is FAKE NEWS

        Depends on your addressable market and the firm. They all have different interests and growth stages they like to go in at.

        Pre 7 figure revenue, many consider it to be Angel or Seed round and it’s not what they do (or by exception if it looks likely you’re about to blow the doors off a market) VC will want 25% and it’s not worth it to them for small investments

        You can do a large seed round where they won’t want that level of income but they’re still going to want to see a stellar team and strong product / market fit demonstrated through numbers

        You can have a fantastic business with 5, 10, 20 people and in all truth you’d probably all be happier with your life goals met but in tech vc they want the 100m revenues that need 500 people. That’s a healthy acquisition or IPO candidate and is where they can actually get their money out. If it can get to that it’s a startup, if it isn’t going to then it’s a small business. It’s basically money to scale and carry you through the next 18 months.

      2. ckm5

        Re: Ok, now this is FAKE NEWS

        Says someone who has no idea, has never worked for a startup, has never raised money and lives nowhere near any VCs.

        Anyone asking you if you have $2m in revenue is not a VC, that should be your first clue.

      3. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Ok, now this is FAKE NEWS

        Pretty much all the VC investments I’ve seen have zero revenue, and most of the time, no working product. They need the money to develop the business plan into a product.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    the 39-year-old tech wannabe had made a "tragic error"

    Yeah, he thought he was more intelligent than the rest of them.

    Well, now he's going to have the time to take a full course in Defrauding Investors 1 0 1, courtesy of the California Justice System.

    In ten years, he will claim that he is the brainchild of Icahn, and he'll make a fortune.

    1. Hollerithevo

      Re: the 39-year-old tech wannabe had made a "tragic error"

      Yep, so easy to make the tragic error of transferring $130,000 into your own account.

      Perhaps it was just resting.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    This is how you make regulatory action stick

    You slap the head bloke in the cooler and fine him personally, not some shell company that'll fold and disappear.

    They need to do that for people ignoring "do not call" lists and putting out bullshit ads.

  5. W Donelson

    Screwing the rich gets jail

    Screwing the rest of us gets an award

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Screwing the rich gets jail

      Truer words were never spoken.

  6. redpawn

    Bigger Fraud is Safer

    fraud. You need to steal at least twenty times as much to get away with fraud. Just look at trump. Except for the mistake of being elected president, by sealing hundreds of millions he had immunity for decades.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Bigger Fraud is Safer

      Lose a million and your have a problem. Lose a billion and the bank has a problem. Trump's real business skill was the ability to work with one bank to move the problem to the next bank. The last two banks in the chain were Deutsche Bank and Alfa. Now he can sell an end to sanctions he should be back in credit but given his outstanding skill at losing money I will wait for evidence rather than take that on trust.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Bigger Fraud is Safer

      Tell that to Bernie Madoff*

      *What a great name for a fraudster. I had real trouble not pronouncing it as Bernie Made Off.

  7. ckm5

    Don't fake documents

    It's one thing to exaggerate your potential, pretty much everyone does that. But faking documents is a big no-no.

  8. Stuart21551

    But not sharing a cell with Elizabeth -

  9. thosrtanner

    Is it just me who's disappointed that the court didn't actually use the word in the article title?

  10. Stevie


    Anyone coining a name for anything techy in which the spelling doesn't help pronounce the name of whatever it is should get 12 months for a start, double that if you go to court and make the judge say it "wrong".

    Yes I'm looking at you, inventors of LaTex. Your time will come.

    And anyone starting an argument about "gif" should have to pay Unisys a small stipend every time they say it in whichever daft pronunciation they've come up with, since they invented the algorithm stolen by the opinionated pronouncer hisself to make the format work.

    Bah humbug!

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      It's not "Latex"? What is it, then?

      I only just today worked out that "ArXiv" is "archive", so I doubt I can feel any dumber. I mean aside from not realising it wasn't an X, I've been misreading it as "arvix" for years.

      1. MonkeyCee

        Re: Bah!

        "It's not "Latex"? What is it, then?"


        It's somewhat niche nature means the user group isn't one to be too bitchy about software naming, so we don't get religious wars like over pronouncing gif/jif.

        1. Stevie

          Re:[It's pronounced] Lay-tech.

          Not according to my source.

          "Lah Tek".

          I would, of course, just call it LAY-tex to annoy the idiots who let the original designers get away with such tomfoolery. You want to create a "funny" sight gag with your naming conventions, you get to live with the fallout.

      2. Stevie

        Re: "ArXiv" is "archive"

        Only if you allow them to get away with it.

        If I'm sitting in the classroom or presentation, it will get called "arzive" - with a sibbilant "z" to make it sound like "arse-ive".

        If challenged I'll just point out that it's a "Zylophone" not a "Chilophone" and OPOTUS is a "Zenophobe", not a "Chenophobe", and tell them to get a proper typographer to design them a better logo that lets people say their name the way they want them to.

        Bunch of arxoles.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      And anyone starting an argument about "gif" should have to pay Unisys a small stipend every time they say it in whichever daft pronunciation they've come up with

      Beware of geeks bearing gifs.

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