Daniel Boice, who founded an Arlington startup named Trustify that was often described as being “like Uber for private investigators,” was sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday. Boice pleaded guilty last year to defrauding investors and diverting some of the money Trustify raised to support his lifestyle. Some of that money went into Trustify’s fancy Crystal City offices, which were designed to evoke film noir and vintage Hollywood depictions of PIs.
Trustify’s original name was “FlimFlam” and its motto was “keeping the world honest.” In reality, the government said in a grand jury indictment of Boice in July 2020, Boice was “engaged in a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain money and property” and “misappropriated substantial portions of the investments for his personal expenses.”
Some of Trustify’s employees sued him and his now former wife, Jennifer Mellon, in July 2019, seeking back pay and claiming that he spent more than half a million dollars on a documentary film about the couple. The employees told Washington Business Journal earlier that year that when they had confronted Boice about missed paychecks, he yelled at them and ordered them out of his office. He then fired them. Vendors also complained they weren’t getting paid. Trustify became a particular focus for a pugnacious local blogger named Glen Hellman, who called the company a “dumpster fire.”
Boice will have to pay more than $18 million in restitution, according to sentencing minutes. His lawyer, a public defender, called the sum an amount Boice will “likely never get out from under,” the Washington Post reports. During today’s sentencing, Boice said that “I accept full responsibility, I make no excuses, no justification, and I am truly, truly remorseful,” according to the Post.