A Kickstarter campaign that raised more than 651,000 Canadian dollars ($632,000) in late 2013 for a $100 3D printer is now broke, allegedly because the project's co-founder stole more than CA$320,000 of backer contributions to build a house for himself.
Rylan Grayston, one of the creators of the Peachy Printer, posted a lengthy Kickstarter update yesterday, preemptively telling backers that the news he was about to disclose had "plagued this company for over a year." In the video, which can be seen above, Grayston asked Peachy Printer co-founder David Boe — who invested the initial $10,000 Peachy Printer needed to get started in 2013 — about what he did with more than CA$250,000 worth of backer contributions.
"I'm sorry, but I went and spent approximately $250,000 of our Kickstarter money on building my house," Boe said. (You can see in the photo below.) In the video, Grayson said his company later determined that Boe actually stole more than CA$320,000.
Boe was adamant that he never told anyone about what he had done, nor did he think he would ever have to. Boe added that he didn't ask Grayson if he could use the backers' money as a temporary investment for the house because he "knew it was wrong" and knew what Grayson would have said.
Boe apologized to backers and said he was trying to rectify his mistake. He added that he knew he lost his reputation and the trust of others, and said his actions jeopardized friendships.
"It's a situation that I put myself in, but I'll do my best to pull through," Boe said. "We'll see Peachy Printer survive and be a great company."
To corroborate his claims that Boe had indeed stolen the money Grayson posted screenshots of his current bank account balances and photos of Boe's alleged house. He also listed the names and emails of investigators within the Saskatoon Police Service in Saskatoon, Canada.
The first bank account statement, which shows a balance of CA$37.80, is Grayson's corporate account for Peachy Printer. The second account statement, pictured just below it, is Grayson's personal bank account. As of May 10, Grayson's checking account contained CA$9.85, while his savings account was overdrafted by $246.37.
In a statement to Polygon, Alyson Edwards, director of public affairs for the Saskatoon Police Service, said the department received a complaint in November 2015 over the theft of crowdsourced funds from a 3D printer company.
"Since then Detectives from our Economic Crime Section have conducted some preliminary investigation, however they are still waiting for more information from the company’s owners," Edwards said.
If the detectives find enough evidence to move the case forward, the crown prosecutor (which is the equivalent to a district attorney) would be consulted to determine whether it should be considered a criminal case or be processed as a civil case.
"It has been an exhaustingly difficult and stressful 18 months"
On the Kickstarter page, Grayson said he has the utmost faith in the detectives handling the case and believed that he did everything in the best interests of his backers by pursuing judicial action. Grayson also asked backers that they let police handle the case and reminded them that neither he nor anyone on his team would tolerate violent threats or vulgar letters.
A Kickstarter representative echoed Grayson's thoughts in an email to Polygon, and added that the company would be doing everything in its power to help local police with their investigation.
"Anyone who abuses our system and the trust of our community exposes themselves to legal action," the spokesperson said. "We're reaching out to the law enforcement officials who are already looking into this case, and will assist however we can."
Grayson ended the update by promising backers that he is still looking into ways to get the funds back and is hopeful they would eventually be able to build and distribute the 3D printers to backers.
"It has been an exhaustingly difficult and stressful 18 months, but despite everything that's happened, know this — I am still here, and I am still doing everything I can to deliver your rewards," Grayson said.
Grayson's update can be read in full here.