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Bitwise CEOs Criminal Hearing Delayed Again. Plea Deal Near?
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 13, 2024

Bitwise ex-CEOs Jake Soberal (left) and Irma Olguin Jr. appear in federal court, November 10, 2023 (GV Wire/Jahz Tello).

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A change in plea could be coming for the two former CEOs of Bitwise Industries, but it will not happen on Thursday as planned.

Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr. face one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The company they founded and led went bankrupt last year, laying off a reported 900 employees.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stanley Boone postponed the Thursday hearing until July 18. He also said “NO FURTHER CONTINUACES WILL BE GRANTED.”

In the request for the delay, attorneys for both sides hinted that a plea deal is imminent. They noted the case produced one million pages of discovery.

“The parties anticipate finalizing and filing plea and charging documents and requesting a change of plea hearing before a United States District Judge. The parties agree that good cause exists for the continuance because the extension is required to allow defense counsel reasonable time to continue their review of the discovery, and for the parties to finalize a pre-indictment resolution of the case,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Barton and Henry Carbajal III wrote, along with Olguin attorney Daniel Olmos and Soberal attorney Eric MacMichael.

Previously, the parties anticipated the continuance request from April 4 to Thursday would have been the last.

Click here for GV Wire’s coverage of Bitwise.

Only One Charge

Despite the one charge, in court documents filed last November when Soberal and Olguin were arraigned, the federal government accused the pair of altering bank documents to help secure loans from private investors.

GV Wire has documented the fall of the company, which once had an optimistic vision to invest in “underdog” cities like Fresno. The company and its former CEOs had the support of political leaders like Gov. Gavin Newsom and the venture capital community.

The Bitwise board fired Soberal and Olguin in June 2023 after the company laid off its employees. Board members in various court documents said they were duped by the CEOs — who painted a rosy financial picture of the company when collapse was imminent.

The “Bitwise” names have been scrubbed from three of its once-prominent downtown Fresno buildings.

In addition to the bankruptcy case, several investors and employees sued in federal and state courts.

Court documents show the company and creditors reached an agreement with specifics still to be worked out. Nearly all the other cases have been delayed since the bankruptcy filing.

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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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