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CEO of smartphone company that won Innovation Award in 2015 charged with fraud

The CEO of the US-based smartphone company Saygus has been charged with fraud. Saygus is the company that showcased the ‘most-innovative’ smartphone at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) tradeshow held in 2015. CES tradeshow is held annually at Las Vagas in the US. According to the Justice Department, the company’s CEO Chad Leon Sayers asked approximately 300 investors to invest $10 million in Saygus, promising “imminent billion-dollar success” with the launch of a revolutionary new smartphone. However, Sayers used these funds to pay for his personal expenses and old investors.

As per a report in The Verge, Sayers allegedly spent $2.17 million of the money raised on office rent, about $800,000 of the funds to settle other lawsuits, $500,000 on legal fees, $145,000 on shopping, entertainment, and personal care, and about $30,000 on his personal credit card. The CEO reportedly started asking for funds in 2006, and used emails, social media including Twitter, and investor newsletters to ask people to invest.

Saygus showcased revolutionary devices. The company’s first VPhone, launched in 2009, had a sliding keyboard. The phone was part of Verizpn’s Open Development initiative. The company launched Saygus V2 in 2015. At that time many compared it with OnePlus. The company called it ‘super smartphone’ and it boasted of 2 Micro-USB slots, 64GB native storage, 13MP front camera with autofocus; and two front stereo speakers and three microphones with Harman Kardon’s sound technology. Other specs of the phone included 5-inch 1080p display with Gorilla Glass 4, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of on-board storage, a 2.5GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, a 21MP camera with OIS and a physical shutter button. Connectivity features in the phone included GPS, Wi-Fi, NFC, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and MicroUSB with OTG support. The smartphone also had an IR transmitter and 3100mAh battery with Qi charging.

After all the hype, not even a single unit of both the smartphones really shipped. Sayers is said to have managed to carry the farce from 2012 and 2020.


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