It was advertised as the next big thing in technology. “One device to unite them all” was the trademark slogan for the Dragonfly Futurefön and with the capability to work as a laptop, smartphone and tablet, it truly did look like the one device that would make all others obsolete. Trouble was, it was all a scam.
On May 31, 50-year-old Jeffrey Batio of Santa Clara was convicted in a federal court in Chicago on 12 charges — six counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud. He can receive up to 240 years in prison, 20 years in prison for each count.
Investigators say Batio claimed to be the owner of two companies, Armada Systems LLC and Idealfuture Inc. He claimed that the companies had created a variety of new technologies including the 3-in-1 device that often went by the name Dragonfly Futurefön.
Batio used the promise of that technology to defrauded investors, including a number of people on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. He raised more than $5.7 million in funding between 2003 and 2016.
“Batio falsely claimed that Armada and Idealfuture had completed the engineering on the 3-in-1 computer and the multi-screen system, and that the products were close to being brought to market,” said a release by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois. “In reality, Batio knew the products were not complete and that production would not start within the promised timeframe.”
Idealfuture launched its first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in 2014. It reached its campaign goal in the first 24-hours of the campaign and by Dec. 19, 2014 it had raised $646,828 thanks to 3,753 backers. All of the participants were promised the first editions of the $799 Dragonfly Futurefön as well as any upgrades they willingly purchased.
According to the Idealfuture website, the Dragonfly Futurefön found its way to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in 2015, where the company continued to spread the word about its groundbreaking technology.
In 2015, Idealfuture launched a second crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. This time, the company raised $726,397 with the help of 4,230 backers.
Indiegogo still has the crowdfunding campaign up on its website and many of the customers who were duped by Batio are using it as a makeshift forum to share the news about his trial. A few said they were among the people on the prosecution’s witnesses list. Victims on the site claimed to be from all over the world including Australia and the United Kingdom.
Some of the users also believe Indiegogo should be held responsible for the role it played when it unwittingly helped Batio commit the fraud.
“Indiegogo should be named co-defendant in this suit,” user Sergio N. wrote in the Indiegogo comments. “Not only [did] they actively advertised this campaign as ‘in demand’ – they also profited from it, currently hold 5% of total campaign money, our money.”
The Santa Clara Weekly reached out to Indiegogo for a comment, but has yet to receive a response.
Batio is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 3, 2019.