By Joel Rosenblatt | Bloomberg
Mike Rothenberg, the venture capitalist once described as Silicon Valley’s “party animal,” faces a new criminal trial for investor charges after a jury failed to rule on separate bank fraud claims against him last year.
Rothenberg was indicted in 2020 for what prosecutors say were multiple fraudulent schemes from years earlier that helped him embezzle nearly $19 million.
The first trial, alleging that Rothenberg made false statements to Silicon Valley Bank to lend money, ended in November with jurors in Oakland, California, unable to reach a unanimous consensus on the two charges. Afterward, Rothenberg asked U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar to acquit him, but Tigar declined in February. No new trial is planned for those counts.
On Friday, Tigar filed a lawsuit to begin Oct. 2 over allegations that Rothenberg had raised millions of dollars to tell investors he would use it to support promising startups, but was actually keeping much of the money for personal use.
Whether prosecutors can win a conviction in the second trial will be an early test for Ismail Ramsey, who was sworn in last month as the new U.S. attorney for San Francisco, an office that tackles high-profile crime in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.
Hanni M. Fakhoury, a Rothenberg attorney, had no direct comment.
Rothenberg was known for throwing lavish parties, which served as material for the HBO show ‘Silicon Valley’.
In 2018, Rothenberg settled allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that he had overcharged investors to fund personal projects. In a separate lawsuit, Rothenberg is challenging claims that he refused to fully repay a $4.25 million loan from Silicon Valley Bank. The bank’s parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month after it faced a bank run by depositors and was taken over by regulators.
The case is US v. Rothenberg, 20-cr-00266, US District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).
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