Founder of student aid startup Frank shakes head as prosecutor describes case against her

Jul 13, 2023, 5:51 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The founder of student aid startup Frank shook her head repeatedly Thursday as a prosecutor claimed that she tricked J.P. Morgan Chase into paying $175 million for her business by lying about its client base.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Micah Fergenson described criminal charges against Frank founder Charlie Javice and codefendant Olivier Amar, the company’s chief growth officer, to a federal judge at a pretrial hearing during which each of them entered pleas of not guilty to an indictment unveiled Wednesday.

Fergenson said the deal two years ago was consummated only after Javice and Amar “created a fake data set” in response to the bank’s data validation request to make it appear that Frank had over 4 million customers rather than the roughly 300,000 clients the company actually had.

As Fergenson spoke, Javice, a Miami, Florida, resident, repeatedly shook her head.

The prosecutor said Javice, 31, and Amar, 49, produced lots of data for J.P. Morgan Chase but that “it was all fake.”

He said the pair paid $100,000 to purchase college student data with over 4 million names and contact information, but when the bank tested about 400,000 of the entries, the “response was horrible.”

“A lot of the emails didn’t work,” Fergenson said.

Javice’s attorney, Alex Spiro, predicted that yet-to-be-disclosed communications between J.P. Morgan Chase executives at the bank will ultimately support his client’s contention that she did not act illegally.

He said prosecutors were “just regurgitating” the claims J.P. Morgan Chase made in a lawsuit against his client. He said prosecutors would typically gather evidence such as communications among the bank’s employees before bringing criminal charges.

After Spiro spoke, Fergenson acknowledged that prosecutors still must review hundreds of thousands of documents before enough evidence will be given to defense lawyers that a trial date could be set as early as Aug. 15, when the next pretrial hearing is scheduled.

Lawyers for Amar did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Javice was arrested in April. Authorities said then that she would have pocketed $45 million from the deal.

Javice had appeared on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list of young professionals with admirable careers.

In 2017, she founded TAPD Inc., which operated under the name Frank, to provide an online platform to simplify the process of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a federal government form used by students to apply for financial aid for college or graduate school.

United States News

Associated Press

2 men convicted in 2021 armed standoff on Massachusetts highway

BOSTON (AP) — Two men have been convicted for their role in an armed standoff on a busy Massachusetts highway in 2021 that lasted more than eight hours and caused traffic delays during a busy Fourth of July weekend. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced Friday that Jamhal Tavon Sanders Latimer and Steven Anthony Perez […]

17 minutes ago

Associated Press

Maine doctor convicted on multiple counts of illegally distributing opioids

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine doctor who runs an addiction treatment center has been convicted on multiple counts of illegally distributing opioids including oxycodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl. Dr. Merideth Norris, 53, of Kennebunk, Maine, was found guilty in federal court Friday of distributing the opioids at her practice. According to court documents, she did […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Teen charged with murder in death of 7-year-old Chicago boy struck by random gunfire

CHICAGO (AP) — A teenager was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old Chicago boy who was not the intended target of gunfire earlier in the week, police said. “There is no excuse for this violence,” police Supt. Larry Snelling said Friday night. Jai’mani Amir Rivera was killed Tuesday outside an apartment […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

3 Alabama men die after becoming distressed while swimming at Florida beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Three Alabama men have died from likely drowning after becoming distressed while swimming at a Florida Panhandle beach, authorities said Saturday morning. The young men had traveled to the Panama City Beach area Friday evening, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. The sheriff’s office received […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

New Mexico heavy rain and flash flooding prompt mandatory evacuations

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Heavy rain and flash flood warnings in New Mexico prompted officials to order some mandatory evacuations, with shelters set up for displaced residents. The National Weather Service office announced a flash flood emergency on Friday night through early Saturday. The impacted areas included the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Parts of Washington state parental rights law criticized as a ‘forced outing’ placed on hold

SEATTLE (AP) — A judge has paused parts of a new Washington state parental rights law derided by critics as a “forced outing” measure. King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott on Friday paused portions of the law while a lawsuit brought by civil liberties groups and others is pending, The Seattle Times reported. The […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Founder of student aid startup Frank shakes head as prosecutor describes case against her