More often than not, describing what a tech company does can fit into the span of an elevator pitch. “Airbnb for pools,” for example — or “car2go but for scooters.” A company called Trustify billed itself as “Uber for private investigators.” Over the course of an investigation and trial, however, a more accurate picture of the company emerged: a de facto Ponzi scheme that benefited its founder, Daniel Boice. And now, as The Washington Post reports, Boice is headed to prison for 8 years and a heavy debt to repay.
Between 2015 and 2019, Trustify raised around 18 million dollars in investments. Boice and Trustify popped up in unexpected places during that time; a 2015 New York Times article about the Ashley Madison hack quoted Boice, who noted that Trustify had hired 15 employees to respond to new business as a result of the hack.
Boice was, apparently, funding an affluent lifestyle with the money he raised — and firing employees who expressed concern about not being paid on time. This quote, from the Post‘s article, is particularly telling: “A Trustify employee told the FBI that he stopped telling Boice when investor funds came in to keep the founder from raiding them to pay off his own credit card bills.”
According to the article, Boice agreed to pay an $18 million sum — including at least $3.7 million in money he routed to his own expenses. It’s a cautionary tale for a host of reasons — not the least of which is hype overtaking more pragmatic concerns.
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