Forbes mocked as another ‘30 Under 30’ honoree joins the ranks of fraudsters Elizabeth Holmes, SBF

Published April 5, 2023, 3:13 p.m. ET

Disgraced Frank founder Charlie Javice has joined the likes of Elizabeth Holmes and Sam Bankman-Fried on a growing list of founders to be lavished with honors by the financial news outlet Forbes – only to later face criminal fraud charges.

Forbes has faced relentless mockery on social media – with users pointing out the dubious record of business figures who have earned a spot on one of its "30 Under 30" lists or the cover of its magazine.

"The Forbes 30 Under 30 have collectively raised $5.3B in funding," tech investor Chris Bakke tweeted on Tuesday. "The Forbes 30 Under 30 have also been arrested for frauds and scams worth over $18.5B. Incredible track record."

The $5.3 billion figure referenced in Bakke’s tweet actually refers to funding raised by individuals included on the Forbes "30 Under 30" class of 2023 alone. The Post could not immediately verify how Bakke arrived at his $18.5 billion figure.

Javice, 31, joined the ranks after the feds charged her with multiple counts of fraud.

Federal prosecutors noted Javice’s inclusion on the Forbes 2019 "30 Under 30" list in a release announcing her arrest for allegedly using fake data to trick JPMorgan Chase into buying her college aid startup for $175 million. She has denied the allegations.

Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of doomed cryptocurrency platform FTX, was included on Forbes "30 Under 30" list in 2021 and also placed on the cover of the vaunted "Forbes 400" issue that same year.

Frank founder Charlie Javice is accused of scamming JPMorgan Chase.

Bankman-Fried is currently under house arrest while awaiting trial on charges that he bilked FTX customers out of billions of dollars, some of which was used to fund a lavish lifestyle. The former crypto kingpin, who has maintained his innocence, faces more than 100 years in prison.

Another questionable past honoree on the "30 Under 30" list is the "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli, who was named to the list in 2012.

Sam Bankman-Fried is the disgraced founder of FTX.

Shkreli became infamous in 2015 after jacking up the price of a single pill of the prescription medication Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 while serving as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

He was later sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted for defrauding investors at two hedge funds he previously led. He also received a lifetime ban from working in the pharmaceutical industry.

Holmes, the infamous founder of the defunct blood-testing startup Theranos, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison last year after being convicted of defrauding investors. Theranos collapsed after revelations that its blood-testing devices could not perform many of the functions that Holmes claims.

Elizabeth Holmes was infamously placed on the cover of Forbes.
Elizabeth Holmes faces more than 11 years in prison.

Forbes had glowing coverage of Holmes before her downfall, selecting her as the cover star of its "Forbes 400" issue in 2014 and crowning her as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire that year.

A Forbes representative pushed back on the criticism, noting Holmes was never included on the outlet’s "30 Under 30" list.

However, Holmes was invited to speak at a Forbes "Under 30" Summit in 2015 and given an "Under 30 Doers Award" for her work at Theranos, according to an article still available on the outlet’s website."

Martin Shkreli was another former Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.

Forbes also placed WeWork founder Adam Neumann on its cover prior to his public downfall.

Earlier this year, the outlet was pilloried online after social media users discovered that it had named Silicon Valley Bank as one of "America’s Best Banks" – just days before its collapse. The bank was later removed from the list.

"As a news organization, Forbes lists capture some of the most prominent people and companies that have profound impact at the time of publication," Forbes said in a statement. "When fortunes change or new details are discovered, we are among the first to report on the news."

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"Forbes lists are a ‘snap shot’ of prominent people at that moment in time," the statement added. "The names mentioned below were on our radar (and many other media outlet’s radar) because they were already raising tens—or hundreds—of millions of dollars for top investors."

The company added that its "Under 30" lists "are vetted by Forbes editors and industry-leading judges in each category."


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