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Crime News Murders

Tech Consultant Arrested In Murder of Cash App Founder Bob Lee In San Francisco

An arrest has been made in the high-profile murder of Cash App Founder Bob Lee, who was fatally stabbed in San Francisco last week, with authorities alleging the businessman was killed by acquaintance Nima Momeni.

By Gina Salamone
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

An arrest has been made in the high-profile murder of Cash App Founder Bob Lee, who was fatally stabbed in San Francisco last week, with authorities alleging the businessman was killed by someone he knew.

Nima Momeni, a 38-year-old from nearby Emeryville, was taken into custody on Wednesday "without incident" in that city, the San Francisco Police Department announced Thursday. He was charged with murder and booked into the San Francisco County Jail.

RELATED: Cash App Founder And MobileCoin Executive Bob Lee Fatally Stabbed At 43 In San Francisco

Family members of Lee, 43, said their murdered loved one had personally known Momeni, a tech entrepreneur and consultant, according to the New York Times.

Momeni appeared in court Friday but did not enter a plea, NBC Bay Area reports, adding he's now set to be arraigned on April 25 and was ordered held without bail.

“The facts of what occurred, or didn’t occur, will come out over time,” attorney Robert Canny, the sister of Momeni's  lawyer (who's currently on vacation), said after Friday's hearing, according to the local NBC station.

A photo of Bob Lee

Who was Bob Lee? 

In addition to founding the mobile payment service Cash App while he was chief technology officer at Square, Inc, the technology company now known as Block, Inc., Lee had a host of other professional achievements. 

At the time of his death, he was the chief product officer of MobileCoin, a cryptocurrency company. "He was the quintessential creator, leader, and consummate hacker," Josh Goldbard, the CEO of MobileCoin, said of Lee after his death. "From large contributions to Android at Google, to being the first CTO of Square, in that time creating CashApp, and working with us here at Mobilecoin, Bob surely had an impact that will last far beyond his short time on earth. This may sound impressive, but Bob’s real resume is the hearts and minds he touched in his time here. Bob’s legacy is the feeling that you can make a difference if you try. Bob’s legacy is his children."

Lee had recently moved to Miami and was reportedly back in the San Francisco area for business at the time he was fatally stabbed. He is survived by his two daughters, who still live in the Bay Area with their mom, whom Lee was separated from, according to the Times.

Who is Nima Momeni, the tech entrepreneur charged in Cash App Founder Bob Lee's murder? 

Momeni's LinkedIn profile describes him as an IT consultant and entrepreneur, with his most recent job title listed as the owner of Expand IT, Inc. He described the company on his LinkedIn page as a collection of "local expert enterprise IT professionals dedicated to providing solid, reliable and efficient technology solutions."

The company was located in Emeryville, according to the Times. Oliver Lee, the victim's brother, has said that the family didn't know Momeni well, adding that he was just one of numerous tech acquaintances of his brother, the Times reported.

"From what we’ve learned recently, it seems like it was more like entrepreneurs and people trying to make their name in San Francisco,” Oliver said, clarifying that he didn't know why Momeni and his brother might have been together at the time of the killing.

In 2011, Momeni was charged with illegal possession of a switchblade, and driving with a suspended license, the Times reported, citing Alameda County court records. The charge involving the knife was dismissed and Momeni pleaded no contest to the suspended license charge. 

What happened to Cash App Founder Bob Lee?

At around 2:35 a.m. on April 4, San Francisco Police officers responded to Main St. in the upscale neighborhood of Rincon Hill after getting a report of a stabbing. They found Lee suffering from stab wounds, gave him medical aid and contacted medics.

Lee was taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to police, and died of his injuries.  

Despite Momeni's arrest, police stated Thursday that they still consider this an active investigation and are asking anyone with information related to the case to call the SFPD 24-hour Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or to Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.    

The killing sparked public outcry, with notable figures from Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to MMA fighter Jake Shields questioning safety in San Francisco and calling out what they viewed as failed policies.

"When we pay that much in taxes and are not protected we are living in a failed city," Shields tweeted a day after the murder. Responding to another one of Shields' tweets that day, in which the fighter referred to Lee as his "good friend" and stated he was killed, Musk wrote, "Very sorry to hear that. Many people I know have been severely assaulted. Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately."

Local law enforcement and political officials shot back at critics during a Thursday press conference announcing the arrest, pointing out that the charges against an acquaintance of Lee's indicates this was not a random attack.

“This has nothing to do with San Francisco — it has to do with human nature,” San Francisco’s police chief Bill Scott said, the Times noted. 

Democratic state senator Scott Wiener added, “This is the danger of making one crime into a symbol. This was a horrific, brutal murder, and I am so grateful that the police solved it so quickly. And San Francisco does have real public safety problems. But this particular crime does not appear to have anything to do with them."

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