Joonko CEO Ilit Raz (Image Source 20MinuteLeaders YouTube video screenshot)
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Joonko, an AI-powered “diversity recruiting” firm, reportedly lied about having partnerships with several major companies, the New York Post reported on Thursday.
According to the Post, Joonko’s website and press releases touted its “partners,” but at least four corporations — American Express, PayPal, Accenture, and Atlassian — claimed they never worked with the diversity recruiting firm.
An American Express spokesperson told the Post, “American Express has never been a client of Joonko, nor worked with them in any way.”
Atlassian “has never been a customer of Joonko’s,” a company spokesperson told the outlet.
Accenture spokesperson Peter Soh told the Post that the company never partnered with Joonko.
“I can confirm Accenture was not a customer and does not have a business relationship with this startup,” Soh stated.
The Post reported that a PayPal source said the company never used Joonko’s services either.
The hiring firm’s website was disabled on Tuesday after news broke that its founder and CEO, Ilit Raz, conducted a “fraudulent” scheme to swindle investors out of $25 million last fall, according to Joonko’s own internal investigation.
According to the probe, Raz told investors that Joonko was working with approximately 150 companies, but CTech reported that the “number was significantly lower.”
Raz claimed that Joonko had expanded to serving “close to 200 companies across the U.S.” in a January interview on “20 Minute Leaders” with Michael Matias.
A source told the Post that Raz’s deception went as far as to include fake invoices, wire transfers, and bank accounts to dupe Joonko’s investors.
Joonko’s board launched an investigation into Raz after it learned she made “misstatements” about the firm’s financial reporting.
“As a result, the board and other executive officers of the company carried out an extensive review of the CEO’s performance,” the board stated. “The CEO was found to have engaged in egregious, unethical and fraudulent conduct, which caused harm to the company and its shareholders. The CEO was confronted with the findings of the investigation, and she voluntarily resigned in response. The extent of the situation remains under investigation and next steps are under consideration.”
As a result of the investigation's findings, Raz agreed to step down.
An archived version of Joonko’s website shows that the firm also claimed to, at one point, have partnerships with Adidas, Nike, Regions, CoStar Group, 33Across, ProjectLine, Qumulo, Intuit, Sift Science, and Counsyl.
The Post revealed that the company doubled down on its false partnership claims in press releases from September 2019 and 2022.
Joonko stated that it was “already trusted by companies such as Adidas, PayPal, Intuit and more,” according to one press release. The other claimed that “employers like Adidas, Accenture, American Express, Crocs, PayPal, Northwestern Mutual, and Intuit rely on its automated sourcing platform.”
Neither Joonko nor Raz replied to a request for comment, the Post reported.
Ep987: Ilit Raz | CEO and Founder, Joonkoyoutu.be
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.