The co-founder of children’s publisher Humongous Entertainment has been convicted of defrauding the Asia Europe Americas Bank of Seattle of more than $1.5 million, and sentenced to federal prison for 30 months.
Shelley Day, 45, had claimed that she was selling a portion of her new company Hulabee Entertainment to both Disney Interactive and Vivendi Universal in order to secure loans, according to a report in the local Seattle newspaper the King County Journal.
As reported in the paper, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly described Day as a “sophisticated, educated person setting out to defraud anyone to reach her goals”. Day had planned to use the loans to buy a $3 million home on Mercer Island.
Day forged a Letter of Intent from Disney Interactive, indicating her company was to be bought for $2.5 million. After defaulting on loan repayments she subsequently claimed that Disney Interactive had been sold to Vivendi Universal, which had delayed the sale of Hulabee – asking the bank not to contact either company in case their enquires jeopardize the sale.
After initial early success, Humongous Entertainment, which was co-founded by Day and noted Monkey Island
co-creator Ron Gilbert, was sold to GT Interactive (now owned by Infogrames) in 1995. The company was scaled back somewhat in 2001, at the same time as Gilbert and Day founded Hulabee, which employed many ex-Humongous staff. However, Gilbert left Hulabee in 2003, according to comments on his personal weblog earlier this year.
As for Humongous itself, which is noted for its successful childrens titles such as Putt Putt
and Freddi Fish
, the Seattle firm saw further staff reductions in 2005, but has recently relaunched
as an independent U.S. subsidiary of French firm Infogrames, promising a business strategy for reviving the Humongous Characters.