Menu Close

The #MyTechBestfriend fallout continues

The bad blood between tech boot camp MyTechBestfriend and many of its former students is anything but finished, according to nearly a dozen people who spoke to TechCrunch.

In November, TechCrunch detailed the fallout between Mary Awodele, the founder of the Texas-based MTBF, and her students. Students accused Awodele of bullying and harassment while alleging that the MTBF program, which cost up to $6,000, consisted of plagiarized courses that could be found online for a more affordable price. At the time, Awodele told TechCrunch she couldn’t comment on those allegations “due to ongoing legal proceedings.”

Since then, those who spoke up against Awodele and the program said they are struggling to obtain refunds and facing continued harassment.

Awodele, meanwhile, posted online in an Instagram story screenshot seen by TechCrunch that she plans to rebrand the company in the new year. She also hired a Texas-based lawyer, Kim Daily, and brought on Curt Bender, a Florida attorney who is consulting for MTBF. Neither Awodele nor Daily directly responded to TechCrunch’s requests for comment, but Bender replied to a set of questions sent to Awodele. Bender said MTBF has no imminent plans to rebrand.

To request refunds, students said they began contacting Stripe, which was, per receipts seen by TechCrunch, one of MTBF’s payment processors. MTBF then posted an Instagram story saying that the new program it hopes to launch would be for those who are an “Affirm, Klarna, or Afterpay kinda person.” MTBF also said it wanted to venture into career services and would vet prospective students to ensure the new program had a more “mature crowd.”

The #MyTechFallout continues

A major point of contention between Awodele and her students remains the fees paid to participate in MTBF’s courses. Awodele told students she would grant refunds to those who wished to drop out after the fallout in late November, even though the course contract students signed said MTBF would not process any refunds. Students told TechCrunch that the refund process has been inconsistent with Awodele’s promises.

A November 18 email forwarded to TechCrunch shows an MTBF employee agreeing to refund Shay, a former student who requested to go by their nickname, within 10 days. After 10 days passed, Shay followed up, but MTBF responded: “Hi. Call your bank, and please do not email us again. Thank you.”

Allegations about the program’s deceit also continued to spread. Some students sent TechCrunch their receipts from MTBF, showing that their transactions were processed as gifts rather than services, which can be a tactic to avoid paying a tax on generated revenue. If these purchases were indeed processed as gifts, it would be a revenue misclassification that impacts the way MTBF is taxed and could land Awodele in serious trouble with the law, including jail time, two financial experts and attorney David Reischer of Reischer & Reischer told TechCrunch.

Bender said that MTBF “was not aware that transactions regarding scholarships were being processed as gifts, and it is correcting and remedying the situation.”

According to correspondence seen by TechCrunch, Awodele also threatened to report multiple students to credit bureaus in instances where she lost bank disputes. Bender, however, said MTBF “never sent anyone to a credit bureau” but “engaged with Fidelity Information Corporation in two instances.”

Victoria, a former student, using a pseudonym for fear of retribution from Awodele, successfully disputed MTBF’s tuition with her bank. Then she received, according to documents seen by TechCrunch, what appears to be a letter from Fidelity Information Corporation, a debt collector. The letter, an attempt to retrieve tuition money on behalf of MTBF, said to mail payments directly to MTBF and listed an address associated with an apartment building in Houston, not FIC, which is based in Los Angeles. (Bender said this is due to FIC’s engagement terms. FIC could not be reached for comment.

Many students have continued reporting MTBF to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the FBI and the IRS, all of which, according to some students, have reached out to students regarding the allegations against MTBF. (The IRS declined to comment, while the FBI and TWC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) Bender said “MTBF is in the process of meeting [TWC] regulatory demands” and is aware that “at least one former student saying the FBI and FTC reached out to them.”

Students who initially spoke out about allegations against MTBF say they continue to face harassment. On December 15, Charlie, a former student, awoke to text messages, one reading that her name was in a pot somewhere in Haiti.

“Make sure you pray for the wickedness that’s in your heart. When a stream of bad luck starts to come your way. Just know it’s us. What’s done is done. So let it be. Ashe,” the text message read, followed by a photo of what appears to be an object used for voodoo.

Bender told TechCrunch that “the founder of MTBF is a Christian and Nigerian and neither practice[s] nor participate[s] in voodoo.” He added that MTBF does, however, employ “hippie-esque practices with students, including lighting candles and manifestation for personal success.

“But never anything against enemies,” he noted.

Charlie, whose last name is being withheld, believes Awodele gave her number out to people for them to harass her. TechCrunch previously reported that Awodele had a group called #MTBFSPECIALFORCES, which she sent out to pester people who spoke up against her or the company. Two hours after TechCrunch reached out to Awodele and her lawyer for comment, Charlie received a message from Bender, who wrote that MTBF “nor its affiliates” were involved with the alleged threats — which was the question TechCrunch posed to them just hours before.

“Please report those threats to law enforcement, and MTBF will assist with any investigations,” Bender wrote in the email seen by TechCrunch. Charlie responded, “There is nothing else to be said other than I’ll see you in court.”

The voodoo incident has scared many people, adding to the fear that is keeping most students enrolled in the program, one current student, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from Awodele, told TechCrunch. Though MTBF is back in session, it’s unclear how many students have dropped out — and how many remain.

“She’s a narcissist with a God complex who believes she’s untouchable and needs to be shut down,” Amber, a former student using a pseudonym for fear of retribution from Awodele, said of the founder. “We won’t stop until she’s unable to do this to anyone else.”

 

 

The #MyTechBestfriend fallout continues by Dominic-Madori Davis originally published on TechCrunch

There are now allegations against tech boot camp MyTechBestfriend of possible fraud, FBI involvement and, well, voodoo.
The #MyTechBestfriend fallout continues by Dominic-Madori Davis originally published on TechCrunch   TechCrunch 

Generated by Feedzy

Disclaimer

Innov8 is owned and operated by Rolling Rock Ventures. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Any information obtained from this website should be reviewed with appropriate parties if there is any concern about the details reported herein. Innov8 is not responsible for its contents, accuracies, and any inaccuracies. Nothing on this site should be construed as professional advice for any individual or situation. This website includes information and content from external sites that is attributed accordingly and is not the intellectual property of Innov8. All feeds ("RSS Feed") and/or their contents contain material which is derived in whole or in part from material supplied by third parties and is protected by national and international copyright and trademark laws. The Site processes all information automatically using automated software without any human intervention or screening. Therefore, the Site is not responsible for any (part) of this content. The copyright of the feeds', including pictures and graphics, and its content belongs to its author or publisher.  Views and statements expressed in the content do not necessarily reflect those of Innov8 or its staff. Care and due diligence has been taken to maintain the accuracy of the information provided on this website. However, neither Innov8 nor the owners, attorneys, management, editorial team or any writers or employees are responsible for its content, errors or any consequences arising from use of the information provided on this website. The Site may modify, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the RSS Feed at any time, including, without limitation, the availability of any Site content.  The User agrees that all RSS Feeds and news articles are for personal use only and that the User may not resell, lease, license, assign, redistribute or otherwise transfer any portion of the RSS Feed without attribution to the Site and to its originating author. The Site does not represent or warrant that every action taken with regard to your account and related activities in connection with the RSS Feed, including, without limitation, the Site Content, will be lawful in any particular jurisdiction. It is incumbent upon the user to know the laws that pertain to you in your jurisdiction and act lawfully at all times when using the RSS Feed, including, without limitation, the Site Content.  

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami