SAN JOSE (CN) – The SEC filed a settled complaint against a Silicon Valley man it accused of bilking investors of $7 million by claiming his startups, hereUare and eCity, were about to become the “next Google.”
Benedict Van, 51, of San Jose, actually had no plans to take the companies public and relied entirely on investors’ money to stay in business, the SEC said in announcing its settled complaint. When his suckers’ money ran out in late 2008, Van shut down the businesses.
Van took more than $6.2 million from investors in hereUare and $880,000 for eCity, the SEC said.
“In presentations to prospective investors, chiefly in homes in Sacramento and Stockton, Van held himself out as a wealthy venture capitalist with prior IPO experience,” the SEC said in its statement. “Van told prospective investors that the companies had lucrative deals and patents, and that he had retained Goldman Sachs and an international law firm to help take the companies public within six months. According to the SEC, all of these representations were false.”
Van agreed to the SEC’s demand that he not do it again.
The SEC’s complaint states that Van was living at an Extended Stay Hotel in San Jose in October 2011, and now has no known address. He refused to respond to the SEC’s questions about his businesses.