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Startup founder Charlie Javice to go to trial in 2024 over alleged JPMorgan fraud

Frank Founder Charlie Javice Attends Hearing For JPMorgan Fraud Case

Charlie Javice, who is accused of defrauding JPMorgan into buying her now-shuttered college financial aid company, Frank, will go to trial in October.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein set the 2024 trial date in an order filed in New York and said in the filing that prosecutors must require JPMorgan Chase to produce more evidence that could benefit Javice in her defense.

Javice was indicted on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy in May. She pleaded not guilty to the fraud charges and is out on a $2 million bond. 

Federal prosecutors alleged Javice “falsely and dramatically” exaggerated the number of Frank customers to “induce” JPMorgan to acquire Frank. Javice repeatedly said the company had more than 4 million customers, when it had only a few hundred thousand, according to prosecutors.

The government said Javice fabricated the number by giving the bank a list of fake names and emails, court documents showed.

Javice founded Frank in 2017, and JPMorgan acquired it in 2021. The bank also hired Javice and other Frank employees as part of the deal. Javice received more than $21 million for selling her equity stake in the startup and $20 million as a retention bonus, prosecutors said.

In October, Javice said in a court filing that JPMorgan didn’t produce “likely thousands” of documents, including its internal assessment of the Frank acquisition, its internal investigation of Frank and internal communications between JPMorgan employees.

“The government’s response has been deliberate inaction, making clear that although JPMC holds highly relevant, potentially exculpatory, readily available materials that are responsive to the government’s subpoenas, the government does not intend to collect them,” the filing said.

Javice added that the “government seems content to rest its entire complaint (and theory of the case) on JPMC’s cherry-picked set of documents.”

Federal prosecutors argued they obtained and turned over all documents relevant to the government and the defense, court documents showed.

“The simple reality is that JPMC has been complying (like the dozens of other subpoena recipients in this case) with the government’s subpoenas, and the government has been complying with its discovery obligations,” prosecutors said.

Still, in this week’s order, Hellerstein, the judge, ruled that federal prosecutors should require JPMorgan Chase to “search for” and “produce,” under the existing subpoenas, emails and documents related to all JPMorgan officers or employees referred to in the complaint.

Hellerstein said the government must seek and produce the documents by the end of next week.

On Thursday, Javice’s attorneys subpoenaed JPMorgan Chase to get additional documents and emails from specific employees beyond the ones referenced in the complaint, according to a court filing. 

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called the bank’s acquisition of Frank a “huge mistake” on a January conference call, Reuters reported. The bank shut Frank down in January.

Prosecutors and the defense will be back in court for their next status conference in January.

Chloe Atkins

Chloe Atkins reports for the NBC News Investigative Unit, based in New York. She frequently covers crime and courts, as well as the intersection of reproductive health, politics and policy.

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