CHICAGO — Federal jurors in Chicago have convicted a Silicon Valley businessman of defrauding investors in his computer companies of more than $5 million after earning some of their money via crowdfunding.
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that 50-year-old Jeffrey Batio of Santa Clara, California, was convicted Friday of 12 counts including mail and wire fraud. He’s scheduled for sentencing in September. Each count could bring 20 years in prison.
Bilked Investors With Promise of 3-In-1 Laptop
Prosecutors say Batio’s companies claimed to produce a single device that would function as a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Another device, Batio said, was a multi-screen laptop. Prosecutors say Batio made misrepresentations about his companies and the products.
According to prosecutors, the fraud scheme began in 2003 and continued until 2016.
Batio originally sold membership shares in his companies and offered his products for advance sales that were never fulfilled. From 2003 to 2014, Batio defrauded victims of $5 million.
As he failed to produce or license any products, Batio started soliciting funds in 2014 on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com. From 2014 to 2016, Batio raised more than $700,000 on Indiegogo from investors by fraudulently promoting and selling the 3-in-1 device.