Fake it till you make it. A common phrase used in the entrepreneurial world to paint a rosy picture of your start-up. Do it well enough and you might get investment from venture capital firms. Your start-up might even get acquired. Fake it too much, and you might be looking for trouble.
In 2016, Charlie Javice founded Frank, an app designed to help students navigate the student loan process. After having been listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Finance list, JP Morgan Chase showed interest in the app and acquired it for $175 million in 2021.
After an attempted mailout to Frank’s customers, JP Morgan Chase staff noticed a significant number of emails were bouncing back. Following further investigation, staff found evidence to suggest that Charlie Javice had paid a data science professor $18,000 to create millions of fake customer accounts for Frank.
As of January 2023, JP Morgan Chase has filed a lawsuit against Javice, claiming she falsified Frank’s customer base. Charlie Javice has countersued JP Morgan Chase, claiming they mismanaged the investment from the start of the acquisition and terminated her contract to deny her the financial compensation she was owed.