A Utah man who touted a revolutionary new smartphone for several years but failed to produce one, has been charged by the US Attorney’s office in Utah with securities fraud. a new filing shows. Chad Leon Sayers solicited approximately 300 investors to invest $10 million in Saygus, promising “imminent billion-dollar success,” according to the Justice Department.
Instead of using the funds he raised to create the promised smartphone, he paid personal expenses and debts, and paid older investors with funds he raised from newer ones, which the US Attorney’s office in Utah called “Ponzi-like.” 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.
According to the US Attorney’s office, Sayers began soliciting the funds in 2006, and used emails, social media including Twitter, and investor newsletters to persuade people to invest in the phone and provide “updates” about the phone’s launch.
Saygus touted its first VPhone—which boasted a sliding keyboard— in 2009, and showed off what it said was the Saygus V2 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2015. The Verge got a peek:
It’s not necessary to say something is “great on paper.” Saygus has created what it’s called a “super smartphone,” and in many ways it feels like they looked at a spec sheet and said, “we can make this look really good.”
The Saygus V2 has a 5-inch, 1080p display and features a 2.5GHz quad core Snapdragon processor with 3GB RAM, powering Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Saygus says the V2 designed for the media junkie, which is to say it boasts up to 320GB of storage — 64GB internal with two MicroSDXC slots. It’s got a 21-megapixels rear (with dual-LED flash) and 13-megapixel front-facing camera. The V2 also has Harman Kardon speakers, a biometric fingerprint scanner, built-in Wireless Qi charging, root access for developers… look, there’s a lot to love in this phone. The design isn’t particularly inspired, but the frame is fairly small and robust.
But that phone never came to pass, either. Android Police has been keeping a close eye on the Saygus saga for several years (they even have a separate Saygus section!), and their archives have many of the twists and turns of this very weird tale.
A jury trial for Sayers is scheduled to begin August 30th.