Charlie Javice, who is accused of defrauding JPMorgan Chase & Co to buy its now-defunct college financial aid startup Frank for $175 million in 2021, arrives in United States Court in Manhattan, New York, June 6 2023.

Mike Segar | Reuters

Employees a launch he bought JPMorgan Chase expressed disbelief when the company’s founder ordered them to increase their customer base ahead of the acquisition, according to internal reports published Thursday in Legal filing.

The founder, Charlie Javice, instructed employees to change the university platform Frank’s “public numbers” to 4.25 million customers in January 2021, JPMorgan said in the filing. Frank had less than 300,000 real customers when JPMorgan bought it in September 2021. alleged.

“Do we really have 4.25 million students?” one Frank employee asked in a January 2021 Slack thread.

“Is it real?” asked another.

“Charlie is the king of finding magic numbers,” wrote another employee, whose name was redacted in the filing.

The release of private employee messages is part of the latest salvo in a legal dispute between Javice and JPMorgan, which paid $175 million for the startup. JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets and a steady acquirer of fintech startups, sued Javice in December 2022, alleging the founder lied about the scale of her company to close the deal.

According to Thursday’s filing, Javice justified the change in user statistics by telling employees that website visitors counted as customers, the bank said.

In its original lawsuit, JPMorgan alleged that Javice hired a data science professor to fabricate fake accounts after the employee refused to do so.

Javice’s problems have intensified in recent weeks. He was the founder of the startup in April criminally accused by the Department of Justice and sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused her of fraud related to the sale of the company.

Javice said in court filings that JPMorgan knew how many users Frank had and that the bank tried to blame her for its mistakes.

A lawyer for Javice did not immediately respond to messages left late Thursday.

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