The investors whose $190 million investment in biometrics startup Pay by Touch is now at risk can't say they didn't know any better. Founder and chairman John Rogers "is just this side of a con man," writes a Valleywag commenter who claims to be a former Pay by Touch employee. Rogers, it turns out, has a history of scandals. There was the time Rogers reportedly blackmailed his girlfriend's husband with threats to turn the cuckold into the IRS. Charming, eh? Here are highlights from a 2001 article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
- Rogers admits he has a "checkered past," including unpaid tax liens and other civil judgments.
- He once owed the state of Minnesota more than $20,000 in unpaid taxes.
- In the early 1990s, Rogers bought an apartment building, collected rents, and then never made loan payments until the bank foreclosed.
- One former girlfriend, Kelli Carlson, took out a restraining order against Rogers in 1998 after he promised to put her in jail "and make your life hell."
- Finally, the woman whose husband Rogers turned over to the IRS took out a restraining order against him because of "threatening and intimidating behavior" by Rogers as well as "possessiveness and intrusion into my current life."