Former Canopy Financial president Jeremy Blackburn has now been charged with wire fraud by federal authorities in Chicago, who claim that he allegedly diverted more than $2 million of a $60 million investment in Canopy last summer for “personal expenses and luxury items,” including an attempt to use a false bank statement to get a mortgage on a new home in Malibu.
Blackburn appeared in federal court in Chicago yesterday and is free on $1 million unsecured bond. A committee of outside directors that excludes the founders of Canopy is working with authorities on the case.
As part of the Series D round raised last summer from Spectrum Equity, Foundation Capital and another investor, Canopy agreed to provide audited financial statements and said that Blackburn and two other co-founders would sell up to 10 percent of their shares. Blackburn sold shares for $1.6 million, according to federal authorities, and Individual B, identified as Canopy’s chief technology officer, sold $975,000 worth of shares.Tony Banas, who held the CTO position at Canopy, has not been charged in the case.
An FBI affidavit (see below) also describes interactions between Canopy and KPMG, whose letterhead was allegedly used to provide a falsified audit to investors. KPMG never did audit Canopy’s financials, but it did provide a SAS 70 audit and had e-mailed a sample of an independent audit and other documents to Canopy’s chief administrative officer, who forwarded the documents to Individual B, the FBI said.