Silicon Valley VC “Party Animal,” Faces Fraud Charges Again!

Mike Rothenberg, the venture capitalist once dubbed Silicon Valley’s “party animal,” faces trial again after a jury failed to reach a verdict last year on charges that he lied to banks about his wealth to obtain loans and defrauded investors.

Rothenberg is accused of fraudulent conduct and misrepresentation, which prosecutors say helped him embezzle nearly $19 million.

On Friday, the judge presiding over the case set a two-month retrial to begin Oct. 2 in the same federal court in Oakland, California, where jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision on the charges in November.

Whether prosecutors can secure a conviction the second time around will be a first test for Ismail Ramsey, who was sworn in last month as the new U.S. attorney for San Francisco. This office handles high-profile crimes in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.

Hanni M. Fakhoury, an attorney for Rothenberg, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the retrial.

Rothenberg was known for hosting lavish parties that served as material for the HBO series “Silicon Valley.” In a separate lawsuit, Rothenberg is fighting allegations that he refused to fully repay a $4.25 million loan from Silicon Valley Bank. The bank’s parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month after facing a bank run and being taken over by regulators.

In 2018, Rothenberg settled Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that he overcharged investors to fund personal projects.


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