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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

CEO of San Diego Startup Sentenced for Bilking more than $1.5 Million from his Company

Assistant U. S. Attorney Michelle L. Wasserman (619) 546-8431

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – May 17, 2021

SAN DIEGO – Jeffrey Fildey, founder and former CEO of San Diego startup GoFormz Inc., was sentenced in federal court today to 51 months in custody for embezzling more than $1.5 million from the company he co-founded.

According to court records, at the time of Fildey’s crime, GoFormz had had raised several rounds of outside funding and appeared to be a start-up success story. Fildey stole the funds despite earning a six-figure salary, and used the stolen funds to support a luxurious lifestyle, including the purchase of a $20,000 diamond ring, fancy vacations, an Audi, and recurring transfers to a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.  According to public records, GoFormz Inc., founded in 2012, is a San Diego company that provides online mobile forms.

According to Fildey’s plea agreement and court records, beginning on or before September 30, 2015, and continuing through August 12, 2017, Fildey used various methods to defraud GoFormz.  His deceptive ways included obtaining loans, supposedly on the company’s behalf, but then taking the funds for himself; putting personal expenditures on GoFormz credit cards which the company then paid for; obtaining cash advances for himself on GoFormz credit cards; and simply stealing money directly from the company’s bank account.

Fildey took out a total of three unauthorized loans on behalf of GoFormz, totaling approximately $600,000, and transferred the funds to his personal bank account shortly after the loaned funds were transferred to GoFormz.  In addition to the loans, Fildey withdrew over $700,000 in cash from the GoFormz bank account for his personal use and made over $2,600 in unauthorized purchases on the GoFormz corporate credit card. 

According to Court records, the company discovered Fildey’s deception when its payroll bounced in July 2017, and the company realized it had only approximately $9,000 in its bank account.  As a result of Fildey’s conduct, the company had to fire 12 of its 42 employees and its valuation plummeted.

“Small business is the lifeblood of our community,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.  “In stealing from his business, Mr. Fildey stole from all those whose livelihoods depended upon the company.  Embezzlement and fraud will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

“The defendant’s gross abuse of power is shocking on two fronts,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “As CEO, he lined his own pockets with more than $1.5 million at the expense of the company he was charged with leading. As an employee of the company, he put the livelihoods of his fellow employees and the future of the company in peril. Let this serve as another reminder - corporate greed has no place in society and those who pursue such a path will face consequences.”

Fildey admitted in his plea agreement that as a result of his fraud, GoFormz lost $1,544,147.  In addition to custody, Fildey was ordered to pay restitution of $1,345,897 and to forfeit $1,156,001. The defendant was immediately remanded into custody to begin serving his sentence.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number             20cr1917-LAB          

Jeffrey Fildey                                                  Age: 56                       Las Vegas, NV

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Wire Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1343

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater

AGENCY

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
CAS21-0517-fildey
Updated May 18, 2021