A History Of Malfeasance – Peter Noce (updated 9/13/17)

Part 4 the final episode of A History of Malfeasance – Peter Noce

Peter Noce, AKA Peter J. Noce, AKA Jay Noce, AKA Peter Joseph Noce

The first 3 parts of this story focused extensively on Ikimbo, throughout the story a shadowy figure Peter Noce keeps popping up.

  • Ikimbo Part 1 – I replace a CEO who threatened to quit if we didn’t, in his words “sell,” in reality give away Ikimbo to a company DDLabs run by Peter Noce
  • Ikimbo Part 2 – I discover an email documenting a deal where the Ikimbo CEO would get partial ownership in Peter Noce’s company DDLabs if and when the DDLabs “acquired” Ikimbo.
  • Ikimbo Part 3 – Peter Noce’s, DDLabs, Ikimbo’s outsourced software development company gives away Ikimbo’s Intellectual Property to a competitor.

Part 1 – 3 have one thing in common… documented malfeasance related to Peter Noce. In the finale of this Episodic Adventure into the Wolves of Startupland, we’ll look into this shadowy character, Peter Noce… one of DCTech’s original Wolves of Startupland.

  • Part 4 of A History of Malfeasance – Turn of Century #DCTech focuses on Peter Noce, Etensity, DDLabs

In 1999 Peter Noce a former Consultant at Arthur Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) founded Etensity, a technology consulting company. These were the heady days of the dot com boom. Washington was at the apex of our startup power. The list of legitimate DC VCs with offices in the DC Area included:

  1. ABS Capital
  2. Blue Water Capital
  3. Boulder Ventures
  4. Century
  5. CIT GAP
  6. Columbia Capital
  7. Core Capital
  8. Edison
  9. Fairfax Ventures
  10. FBR Ventures
  11. Flash Forward
  12. Grotech
  13. In-Q-Tel Inc
  14. Lazard Technology Partners
  15. Mercator
  16. Monumental
  17. New Atlantic Ventures
  18. New Enterprise Assoc
  19. New Markets Venture
  20. Novak Biddle
  21. Paladin
  22. Questmark
  23. Steve Walker Venture Partners
  24. TDF
  25. Updata
  26. Winston Partners

Companies like AOL, UUNet, PSINet, Net2000, Trusted Information Systems, Digex, Proxicom, Appnet, Morino Associates, VM Software, Landmark Software, Micro Strategies.. and the list goes on and on.

It was happy times for DC Startups…. DC Tech was up there with the big guys…. Silicon Valley, the Route 128 corridor in MA, and New York City.  We were big, things were heady and money kept flowing. VCs were scrambling to write checks.  It was a seller’s market and the buyers were buying in bulk.

Anyone, regardless of resume, education or lack of scruples could raise money. In 1999 Peter Noce set up shop in Vienna Virginia.

According to the Washington Post, Etensity raised roughly $40 million in funding, with at least $15 million from European venture capital group Syntek Capital AG. By July of 2000, Noce bragged to Infoworld that Etensity had 400 employees with employment peaking at 450 employees by the end of 2000.

Employees were attracted by Over-The-Top Employee Benefit Programs that included:

  • Raise the Roof – $10,000 towards house purchase (verified fact)
  • Hot Wheels – $400 towards car lease payment (verified fact)
  • Company Concierge (verified fact)
  • Company Masseuse (verified fact)
  • Condos (owned by the company for use by employees yet used mostly by Noce):
    • Outer Banks, NC (Hearsay from 2 sources)
    • Aspen, CO  (Hearsay from 2 sources)
    • Hollywood, CA (Hearsay from 1 source)
  • A Company-owned Bertram Yacht (Hearsay from 1 source)
  • A Company Jet (Hearsay from 1 source)

In January 2001 the company made an acquisition, purchasing IT consulting company Onesoft after Onesoft had filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing listed Onesoft’s assets at $1.5 million and liabilities that exceeded $13.4 million. These numbers were nothing compared to what would come.

The Onesoft acquisition portends to a pattern. The Peter Noce pattern of picking up assets while leaving creditors high and dry. According to court documents filed at the time, Noce and Etensity cheaply picked up Onesoft’s assets while Creditors were left holding a large bag of nothing. Onesoft owed $2 million to Leasing Technologies International, $1 million to Dell Computer, $1 million to Compaq, and over $800 thousand to Herndon-based Iormyx.

In Mid 2001 Noce’s house of cards began to fall…. The Washington Business Journal reported in May of 2001 that the company laid-off 58 (23%)of its staff.

A former employee told me a story about the days when the decline began. She told me a co-worker summoned her into his office where he put his finger to his lips to make the universal, don’t speak sign and then he wrote out a note that said… “our offices are bugged.”  Crazy town was getting crazier. She told me that was one of the many creepy things happening in the company.

Several employees related that the company condos and boat were rarely available for corporate use… they were virtually private toys used by Noce. The investors started asking tough questions but by then it was too late, much of their treasure had evaporated.

On May 8, 2002, according to the Washington Post, after laying off 90% of the company’s employees the company filed for bankruptcy and re-emerged as DDLabs. Who was the principal of DDLabs….. Peter Noce. Noce purchased his former company Etensity for $500 thousand. Etensity’s Chapter 11 filing at the time listed the company’s assets at $13 million and liabilities of $97 million. Not a bad deal for Noce, picking up $13 million in assets while shedding $97 million in liabilities.

Knowing this, back in 2003 the board of Ikimbo, of which I was a member, should not have been surprised that DDLabs was offering virtually nothing to take Ikimbo off the investor’s hands. Knowing how Noce works, it shouldn’t have surprised me when I found that he had a side deal with my predecessor, the former CEO of Ikimbo. A deal that if he could get the board to give away the company, the former Ikimbo CEO would receive a significant ownership position of DDLabs.

It’s Ironic that when we shut Ikimbo down, the largest creditor left in a lurch was DDLabs.

Knowing what I know now, about the Noce’s ethics, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that his company was distributing Ikimbo’s Intellectual Property… our product plans to help solicit new business for DDLabs from Ikimbo competitors.

Sometime after starting DDLabs, Noce left DC for Charleston SC. Where he’s continued to do business and apparently avoid paying his debts. Noce appears to have spent his time in and out of court in the last 15 years (See court actions at the bottom of this post). A former employee from SC, reports that Peter Noce, has left SC and set up shope as Jay Noce, in California.

There are many wolve’s of startupland like Peter Noce’s in the Startup World… many of them in DC. Noce was able to hoodwink professional investors with the ability to invest millions in a company like Etensity. Look at Enron and Tyco and public companies that defrauded their investors under the watchful eyes of institutional investors, public company boards of directors and the SEC.

If crooked actors can perpetrate this kind of malfeasance against professionals, how difficult is it for a less than scrupulous founder to bilk small time angel investors and crowdfunding participants? The cutbacks in legitimate tech press budgets limits the transparency and oversight that can prevent innocent, naive investors from being taken for a ride. I mean no disrespect when I say naive, or small because as an investor I was both. The only reason I say was instead of is, is because I’ve gained the wisdom to understand I’m a small, powerless, naive investor and not because I am foolish enough to believe that I can sniff out the next con man.

Ikimbo, Etensity, DDLabs were my introduction to fraudsters and scammers… the wolves of startupland. There are many Noce’s still out there and the rest of us… those who are trying to make an honest living, owe it to our peers to warn others.

Why am I Cranky? I’m not Cranky. Truth ain’t cranky…. facts are facts. Question everything… trust but verify… warn others of evil.


Update 9/13/2016 – Peter J Noce is served with a summons to another law suit in August. And then Boom!  DUI (Link to Details)

Peter J Noce, Jay Noce, Peter Joseph Noce, Peter Noce Mug Shot


Update 7/6/2016 – Peter J Noce formerly of the DC Metropolitan area now brands himself as Jay Noce of Charleston SC area.  Apparently, Peter Jay realizes it’s harder to hit a moving target.


Other Noce Court Actions

Court Records indicate he’s been sued multiple times and one person familiar with him related to me that he’s served some jail time (I have not been able to verify this). I have found court records that Mr Noce’s habit of dodging debts did not abate in 2003.  There are court records show 10 actions between Noce and the IRS and the state of South Carolina. It appears that these liens appear to be prosecuted by the IRS against Noce for a Tax infraction for tax year from 2001 – 2002. And a state Franchise issue in 2012.

  1. Court Case Number: 200514424
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,672,630.00
    Filing Type: FEDERAL TAX LIEN
  2. Court Case Number: 200702912
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,540,676.00
    Case Number: 200702912
    SC Plaintiff Name: INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
    Filing Type: FEDERAL TAX LIEN
  3. Court Case Number: 4829
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,466,705.12
    Court Case Number: 4829
    Tax Lien Date: 07/20/2011
    Type: Federal Tax Lien
    Tax Period Minimum: 06/30/2001
  4. Court Case Number: 201100004829
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,466,705.00
  5. Court Case Number: 34502
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,259,002.93 Filing
    Tax Lien Date: 02/15/2007
    Tax Period Maximum: 03/31/2002
  6. Court Case Number: 34501
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,259,002.93
    Tax Lien Date: 05/19/2005
    Tax Period Maximum: 03/31/2002
    Tax Period Minimum: 06/30/2001
  7. Court Case Number: 34500
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,259,002.93
    Tax Lien Date: 10/18/2005
    Tax Period Maximum: 03/31/2002
    Tax Period Minimum: 06/30/2001
  8. Court Case Number: 10622
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,259,002.93
    Tax Lien Date: 07/20/2011
    Tax Period Maximum: 03/31/2002
    Tax Period Minimum: 06/30/2001
  9. Court Case Number: 10621
    Total Lien Amount: $ 1,259,002.93
    Tax Period Maximum: 03/31/2002
    Tax Period Minimum: 06/30/2001
  10. Total Lien Amount: $ 38,187.91
    Tax Lien Date: 06/12/2014
    Kind Of Tax: FRANCHISE TAX
    Tax Period Maximum: 12/31/2012
    Lien Issuing Agency: FRANCHISE TAX BOARD
    Type: State Tax Lien
    Recording Book Number: 0612
    Recording Date: 06/12/2014
    Tax Lien Serial Lien Certificate Number: 14162678771
    Tax Period Minimum: 12/31/2012

Other records show that Noce being sued multiple times:

  1. $800 thousand dollar breach of contract suit that was either settled out of court or dropped.
    Roman Vichr, Plaintiff
    Vs Peter J. Noce, Jr., Defendant
    Demand $800,000
    Nature of Suit 190 – Contract: Other Contract Actions
    Cause Section 28 U.S.C. § 1441 Notice of Removal-Breach of Contract
    Disposition Dismissed – Voluntarily
    Terminated 11/18/2004
  2. This Appeals Case  where Noce and his wife appealed a judgment and the appeal was denied.