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Ex-Bitwise CEOs Agree to Plea Deals. When Are They Back in Court?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 3 weeks ago on
July 3, 2024

Former Bitwise co-CEOs Irma Olguin Jr. (left) and Jake Soberal seen here at a Dec. 8, 2023 court hearing, will change their pleas from not guilty on July 17. (GV Wire/David Taub)

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As speculated for months, the two former Bitwise Industries CEOs are taking plea deals and will appear in court July 17.

Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr. now face two counts each — wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Last November, the federal government charged them with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud count apiece.

“The parties have reached plea agreements to resolve the case and will file the agreements with the Court shortly,” said a joint stipulation on Tuesday filed by the government and the defendants’ lawyers.

Soberal and Olguin pleaded not guilty last November. They will return to court on July 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse in downtown Fresno in front of Judge Dale Drozd.

The exact terms of the plea deal have not been revealed.

The maximum penalty is up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for both counts.

Court Documents: $115 Million Fraud Scheme

Soberal and Olguin are accused of defrauding investors and falsifying documents in a bid to save their company.

A court filing last week updating the charges said “the defendants agreed to alter and fabricate financial information for Bitwise that was presented to Bitwise’s investors and lenders to deceive and cheat them into making investments and loans to the company.”

The result: Bitwise received nearly $115 million in investments and loans between January 2022 and May 2023.

The wire fraud charge, the federal government alleges, is specific to an $18 million wire transfer from an unspecified New York financial institution.

The indictment released last year detailed how Soberal and Olguin would allegedly alter bank records to show investors and its own board of directors that the company had more money that it really did.

The new charging allegations would also require Soberal and Olguin to forfeit any property and proceeds related to the offenses.

Founded in 2013; Failed in 2023

Soberal and Olguin founded the company in 2013, with a goal of turning underdog cities like Fresno into tech powerhouses. They invested in ailing real estate, renovating downtown buildings. Bitwise also taught coding and provided technical support to clients.

GV Wire first revealed problems with the company’s finances in May 2023 when they missed property tax payments and had payroll issues. On Memorial Day last year, the company furloughed all its employees, laying them off weeks later.

Bitwise’s board of directors fired Soberal and Olguin in June 2023, saying the CEOs misled them about the financial health of Bitwise. Later that month, the company filed for bankruptcy.

The company faces several civil lawsuits from investors, former employees, and business partners.

One allegation in multiple lawsuits accused Soberal of offering up the company’s real estate holdings as collateral, when Bitwise did not actually own the buildings or had already pledged them to another investor/business partner.

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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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