New York VC sentenced for fraud over fake Airbnb shares

Stolen cash went to private jets, Patek Philippe watch

NY CEO Gets 8 Years in Prison for Pre-IPO Fraud
George Lakovou (Getty, Crunchbase)

The CEO of a New York-based venture capital firm has been sentenced to 97 months in prison for orchestrating a pre-IPO scam — that included Airbnb — that defrauded over 50 investors of millions of dollars.

George Iakovou, 30, of Vika Ventures LLC, is ineligible for parole and will be subject to three years of supervised release once his prison term is up, according to a press release by the Department of Justice.

Iakovou pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 

In July 2021, the United State Secret Service began an investigation into Vika Ventures, which claimed access to pre-IPO shares in companies such as Airbnb, Palantir, SpaceX, and Stripe.

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But Iakovou did not have actual access to pre-IPO shares in the advertised companies and did not own the shares while soliciting potential investors. Despite receiving investments totaling about $6 million from over 50 victim-investors between January 2020 and December 2021, Iakovou failed to deliver on the promised shares.

To perpetrate the fraud, Iakovou established fake email domains, posing as representatives from private equity brokerage firms, and created counterfeit bank statements. 

Iakovou rerouted the funds to various accounts, including personal ones, and used the money for personal expenses, such as private jet charters, a 2021 Corvette Stingray worth $135,528, and luxury watches exceeding $500,000, including a $231,000 Patek Philippe watch.