Former startup CEO sent to prison


The founder and former chief executive of a San Francisco startup has been sentenced in federal court to two years in prison for fraud in a scheme in which he bilked several investors of more than $500,000.

Jonathan Mills, 31, the founder of a company called Motionloft, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco. The judge also ordered him to pay $572,039 in restitution. Mills, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty before Seeborg in October to two counts of wire fraud.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said that during his guilty plea, Mills admitted he obtained money from several investors by falsely telling them that Motionloft was going to be acquired by a well-known Silicon Valley multinational corporation and that they would reap large profits. There was no acquisition and Mills spent a substantial amount of the investment money on personal luxuries, including rental of a private jet, a penthouse suite and lavish vacations, Haag said.

Motionloft uses sensors to gather data on movements of pedestrians and vehicles. Mills was fired as chief executive by the company’s shareholders on Dec. 1, 2013. According to documents filed by prosecutors, the $572,039 in restitution represents funds obtained from five victims. One of the victims was Mills’s doctor and another was a woman who left her job while she was pregnant because she believed the investment would make her rich, according to a prosecution sentencing brief.

Prosecutors said in the documents that another Motionloft investor has repaid the victims $251,000, so that amount of the restitution should go to Motionloft and the remaining $321,000 should to the victims.

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