Seattle startup CFO indicted for taking $35m from firm

The previous chief monetary officer of a Seattle-based startup took $35 million of his employer’s cash with out permission and misplaced it by investing in cryptocurrency earlier than the crypto market crashed final yr, in keeping with a federal indictment returned by a grand jury Wednesday.

Nevin Shetty, 39, was employed in March 2021 as CFO of an organization referred to as cloth, which makes software program platforms for retail commerce.

A few yr later, after the corporate knowledgeable him it was letting him go over job efficiency considerations, he secretly took the cash and transferred it to HighTower Treasury, a crypto platform he managed as a facet enterprise, the indictment mentioned.

His thought was to pay the corporate 6% curiosity whereas retaining earnings above that, however quickly the $35 million funding was virtually nugatory, the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace in Seattle mentioned in a information launch.

The indictment in U.S. District Courtroom charged Shetty with 4 counts of wire fraud. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Could 25.

Shetty’s lawyer, Cooper Offenbecher, mentioned in an emailed assertion that he and his shopper had been in common contact with prosecutors and disagreed with the choice to convey an indictment.

“Because the CFO of his former employer, tasked with making funding selections for its profit, Mr. Shetty was personally devastated by these losses, which occurred on account of a catastrophic crash within the cryptocurrency market in Could 2022,” Offenbecher wrote. “We look ahead to responding to those allegations in Courtroom.”

Prosecutors, nevertheless, mentioned that as the corporate raised a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in startup funding, it adopted a conservative method to managing that cash — a coverage that Shetty had helped draft.

In line with the Seattle tech information web site GeekWire, cloth had raised greater than $293 million by February 2022 and was valued at $1.5 billion.

In an emailed assertion, the corporate mentioned it had been cooperating with legislation enforcement and appreciated the work of the FBI and federal prosecutors.

“Whereas the quantity taken is substantial, cloth stays very well-funded with years of runway,” the assertion mentioned.

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