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Is a Bitwise Plea Bargain in the Works?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 3 weeks ago on
March 29, 2024

Jake Soberal (left), Irma Olguin, and attorneys Eric MacMichael and Daniel Olmos exit the federal courthouse in Fresno in Nov. 2023. Could a plea deal be in the works? (GV Wire file)

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The latest filing in the criminal case against the former CEOs of Bitwise Industries indicates a plea bargain may be coming.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stanley Boone agreed to continue the federal case against Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr. from April 4 to May 16, at the request of both parties.

The March 18 filing says this is likely the last request to delay.

“The parties have met and conferred regarding the evidence in the case and the terms of potential plea agreements … The parties agree that good cause exists for the continuance because the extension is required to allow defense counsel reasonable time to complete their review of the discovery, prepare for any litigation, and fully consider a pre-indictment resolution of the case.”

There are more than one million pages of discovery, according to the filing.

Soberal and Olguin were fired as co-CEO last June, a few weeks after the collapse of the Fresno-based real estate and technology company. The company filed for bankruptcy, and a reported 900 employees lost their jobs.

Worse, dozens of investors say they were bilked by Bitwise, in a desperate attempt to raise money as the company crashed. The company’s collapse has led to nearly a dozen lawsuits.

The defendants face only one fraud charge, despite a 42-page indictment that could lead to other charges.

Click here for GV Wire’s coverage of Bitwise.

The U.S. Attorney’s office had “no comment at this time.” Attorneys for Soberal and Olguin did not respond to GV Wire’s request for comment.

Politics Good for Local TV/Radio

Local TV stations saw a 15% increase in political ad revenue this cycle over the last presidential primary.

According to tracker BIA Advisory Services, TV and digital ad revenue increased from $15 million in 2020, to $17.3 million in 2024.

Radio also did well. It saw a 17% jump from $1.8 million (2020) to $2.1 million (2024).

BIA Advisory Services notes that the 2024 numbers are forecasts, and are not guaranteed.

Hurtado Bill Would Give Help Aspiring Local Nurses

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado wants to ensure that students who want to study nursing have an easier time getting into college.

She introduced SB 1183, which would give local students admission advantages. The problem, Hurtado said, is local programs like College of the Sequoias in Visalia, teach mainly out-of-area students who then exit the Valley. That leaves local healthcare institutions like Kaweah Health scrambling for nurses.

“The Central Valley grapples with healthcare disparities, such as the burden of longer travel distances for access. We possess the local talent, eager to address our region’s needs, but must equip them with resources and support,” Hurtado said. “This bill aims to empower our Valley’s students, investing in their potential to bridge this gap.”

Technically, the bill adds the federal definition of “living in a medically underserved area or population” as a community college admission criteria. The program would sunset on Jan. 1, 2030.

The Senate education committee hears the bill April 3.

Fong-Boudreaux Official for May 21

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber officially certified the March 19 special election, declaring Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, R-Springville, advancing.

The two will meet in a runoff election on May 21. The winner will become the new Member of Congress for the 20th district, and serve until Jan. 3, 2025. Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, quit the seat on Dec. 31.

The same two meet for the full-term seat on Nov. 5. However, Weber is challenging Fong’s eligibility to appear on the ballot. The Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento hears arguments on Thursday, April 4.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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