U.S. Markets open in 2 hrs 19 mins

Ex-Fintech CEO to Pay $17M as SEC Targets Inflated Revenues, Pre-IPO Stock Sales

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

 

 

 

 

 

The founder and former chief executive of a Silicon Valley mobile payments startup has agreed to pay $17 million to settle claims from the Securities and Exchange Commission that he misled investors about the company's performance.

According to the SEC's complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, former Jumio Inc. CEO Daniel Mattes caused the companies' revenues to be overstated in 2013 and 2014. According to the SEC, Jumio’s financial statements claimed gross revenues $101 million in 2013, when the actual number was only $9.5 million, and claimed $150 million in 2014, when it was only $7.7 million. The SEC also claims that Mattes, 46, of Wels, Austria, misled the company's board by assuring members that he would not sell his personal shares on the secondary market, when in fact he did just that, selling more than $14 million worth of stock. The company restated its financial results in 2015 and filed for bankruptcy in 2016, leaving investors with nothing.

Mattes, who is represented by Michael Duggan of Marks, O'Neill, O'Brien, Doherty & Kelly in Wilmington, Delaware, agreed to pay $14,617,922 in proceeds from stock sales plus $2,145,112 in prejudgment interest and a $640,000 civil penalty. The deal still requires judicial signoff.

Erin Schneider, the associate regional director the SEC’s San Francisco office, which is handling the case, said in a statement announcing the SEC's action that Mattes enriched himself at investors’ expense. “Company executives must provide investors with accurate information irrespective of whether their companies are publicly or privately traded,” she said.

Since leaving Jumio in 2015, Mattes, who is a judge and business angel on the Austrian version of the reality television show "Shark Tank," has founded .42.cx, an artificial intelligence startup in Austria where he is currently CEO. Representatives of Mattes' new company, whose website lists him as "Serial Internet entrepreneur. International speaker. Book author," didn't immediately respond to a message Tuesday. Neither did Duggan, his lawyer.

Also on Tuesday, the SEC reached a separate agreement with Jumio’s former chief financial officer Chad Starkey, whom the agency claims failed to exercise "reasonable care" in regards to the company's financial statements and Mattes' stock sales. Starkey, who had a background as a lawyer but was not a CPA, agreed to $420,000 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest related to his own stock sales, and to cooperate in the agency's investigation. According to a cached version of Starkey's LinkedIn page, which is now unavailable, he previously practiced at Robinson & Wood and Bowman and Brooke. Starkey's lawyer, Patrick Murphy of Murphy Cooke Kobrick in San Mateo, didn't immediately respond to a message Tuesday.