(KRON) — A former Silicon Valley tech CEO pleaded guilty to presenting false financial information to potential investors while raising money for his Silicon Valley-based startup HeadSpin, pursuant to a plea deal. HeadSpin is a data science-driven platform that helps businesses identify user experience issues and improve user engagement and app performance.
Manish Lachwani, 41, of Los Altos, founded HeadSpin in 2015 as Chief Executive Officer. During his time as CEO from 2017 to 2020, Lachwani lied to potential investors about company finances that lead to a valuation of $1.1 billion, according to court documents. Lachwani pleaded guilty to fraud as part of a deal with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Northern California.
Lachwani admitted providing inflated annual recurring revenue to investors including subscription fees from potential customers who had not agreed to pay, funds from customers who had stopped using HeadSpin’s services, according to his plea deal and inflated amounts from existing customers. According to the plea deal, Lachwani also admitted to sending false financial information to HeadSpin accountants that showed amounts not actually invoiced to customers.
Lachwani was charged in August 2022 with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and four counts of securities fraud. He pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud, pursuant to the plea agreement. The remaining charges will be dropped is long as Lachwani complies with the deal.
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Lachwani is currently out on bond. His sentencing hearing set for Sept. 27. He faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud and 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine for each count of securities fraud.