The tech pioneer who wasn't: Minh Nguyen's career claims unravel
When news broke on Jan. 15 that a so-called tech entrepreneur named Minh Nguyen had allegedly broken into his ex-wife’s Ashburn, Virginia, townhome and gunned down her new husband, few might have paid much attention to the sad, tragic story if it hadn’t been for Nguyen’s background.
For years, Nguyen had claimed he co-founded Plaxo, an online address book and social networking service, with Napster billionaire Sean Parker that was acquired by Comcast in 2008 for a reported $170 million.
Suddenly, the story was about more than a senseless, brutal murder. It was about a high-rolling tech visionary who had gone bad.
It now turns out, however, that Nguyen “never set foot inside the doors of Plaxo or did a single day of work there,” John McCrea, the company’s former head of marketing, tells PEOPLE. McCrea and other execs at the company had known about Nguyen for years after he repeatedly edited Plaxo’s Wikipedia page, listing himself as a co-founder.
“It sort of became a wrestling match,” McCrea recalls. “As soon as we’d edit the page [and remove Minh’s name], he’d go back and put his name back in. It happened dozens of times over multiple years. Eventually, we gave up out of frustration.”
Sean Parker’s rep declined to comment on the matter. But Plaxo co-founder Todd Masonis tells PEOPLE that Parker and Nguyen were childhood friends, but Nguyen had no role within the company.
“I think he took the thinnest of associations and inflated it to make it sound like something much more than it was,” Masonis says. “He wasn’t involved in the company in any capacity.”
Just like McCrea, Masonis, who had one conversation with Nguyen years ago, is dumbfounded over Nguyen’s alleged involvement in the shooting death of Cory Mattison, a former North Carolina State University baseball player.
“He seemed like a nice guy,” Masonis adds of Nguyen. “I certainly didn’t expect to see those headlines over the weekend.”
A bond hearing for Nguyen is scheduled in Loudoun Circuit Court for Jan. 28.