The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin, Jr., the former co-CEOs of Fresno, California-based private technology services startup Bitwise Industries Inc., for misleading investors about the company’s finances. Soberal and Olguin have agreed to resolve the charges against them.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Soberal and Olguin made material misrepresentations and falsified documents concerning Bitwise’s cash position and historical financial performance while raising approximately $70 million from investors in 2022. According to the complaint, Soberal and Olguin created and provided investors with falsified bank records and a fake audit report that showed, respectively, inflated cash balances and higher revenues than Bitwise actually generated. Soberal and Olguin’s alleged misrepresentations and falsified materials painted Bitwise as a healthy, growing business with favorable financial performance. In reality, and as Soberal and Olguin allegedly knew, Bitwise faced constant cash shortages and was often on the brink of failure because it was unable to generate sufficient funds from its operations. As alleged, Soberal and Olguin’s scheme came to light in May 2023 when Bitwise failed to make payroll and abruptly furloughed—and then terminated—all of its hundreds of personnel.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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