Don't Be Evil
Anybody remember the Acorn Technology Fund? The Pennsylvania-based VC firm backed such startups as Aloha Networks and NetVendor. And that's not the only place its money was going. Last Friday, Pamela Torkelsen, a 43-year-old former manager at Acorn, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington to "interstate transportation of stolen or fraudulently obtained property," according to an Associated Press story. Prosecutors say she and others stole Acorn's funds by routing money through a related entity called Princeton Valuation Consultants and making it look like the payments were for salary or shareholder distributions. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Torkelsen is in especially deep doo-doo since Acorn was a Small Business Investment Company, meaning part of its funds came from the U.S. government. In early January, the Princeton, N.J. sheriff's department scheduled an auction for a $1.7 million Princeton mansion owned by Torkelsen and her husband, John Torkelsen, whom the U.S. Justice Department has also targeted in the Acorn scandal. Last year, the brouhaha extended to former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli, who was an investor in the Acorn fund and was named in a lawsuit for allegedly failing to cough up funds he had promised to supply. (Read all about it here.) Like the Google guys say, don't be evil.
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