Kim Hart Feb 6
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Former CEO pleads guilty to fraud at Silicon Valley startup

Department of Justice seal
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Isaac Choi, the founder and CEO of a shuttered start-up called WrkRiot, pleaded guilty on Monday for defrauding former employees, according to the Justice Department. Choi admitted to luring employees to work at his company based on false information about his background and forging documents to reflect salary payments that were actually never made.

Why it matters: The tale of fraud at a Silicon Valley startup got a lot of attention when it publicly unraveled in 2016, providing a stark contrast to the glitzy, millionaire-studded image of many high-flying tech startups. As the NYT put it at the time, "Silicon Valley is always eager to celebrate its success stories, but the reality is that numerous tiny start-ups that few ever hear about form the tech industry’s dysfunctional underbelly."

Details: Choi pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, with sentencing scheduled for May 24 in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. According to the DoJ, Choi admitted that he'd lied about attending business school and about his work history to recruit employees. He also admitted to emailing several employees fake wire transfer confirmation documents purporting to reflect salary payments to convince them to continue working for his company.

Ben Geman 6 hours ago
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Global carbon emissions are on their way back up

Chinese coal-fired plant from 2015 with lots of emissions. The country has made efforts to lower its emissions since then
Smoke billows from a coal-fired generator at a steel factory in Hebei, China, in 2015. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

A new International Energy Agency report finds that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from energy — which are the lion's share of global emissions — ticked upward by 1.4% in 2017 after a three-year plateau.

Why it matters: The findings underscore the immense challenge of reigning in heat-trapping emissions in an increasingly energy-hungry world. Carbon dioxide output is on pace to eventually bring about global warming levels that blow past the targets of the Paris climate agreement.

Dan Primack 7 hours ago
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Blade raises $38 million to build flying taxi infrastructure

Helicopter shadow against a cash sign.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Blade, a short-distance aviation company known for helicopter rides from airports into city centers, has raised around $38 million in new funding from backers that include Airbus and real estate company Colony NorthStar.

Why it matters: Blade is more focused on transportation infrastructure than any particular type of vehicle, and believes its landing zones will eventually be used by eVTOLs (a.k.a. flying taxis).