Ozy Media and CEO Carlos Watson are Facing Criminal Charges for Allegedly Defrauding Investors Out of Millions of Dollars

Carlos Watson | How Africa News


According to Reuters, Carlos Watson and his media firm have been charged with conspiracy to cheat investors out of tens of millions of dollars by misrepresenting the company’s debts, financial performance, and audience size.


The allegations against Watson and Ozy Media are allegedly predicated on his allegedly cooperating with co-conspirators to fake a contract and as an executive for a cable network company to obtain bank financing in 2019.


Watson and the co-conspirator were also accused of convincing an unidentified financial institution to invest $45 million by fabricating statistics about the company’s audience size, backing from other investors, and revenue.

“As alleged, Carlos Watson is a con man whose business strategy was based on outright deceit and fraud – he ran Ozy as a criminal organization rather than as a reputable media company,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace reportedly said in a statement.

Watson secured a $1 million bond after being detained only days after his co-founder Samir Rao pleaded guilty to similar allegations in federal court in Brooklyn. Watson’s attorney voiced his displeasure with the situation in a statement to Variety.

“I am deeply disappointed by the events of today. We were engaged in a good faith and constructive dialogue with the government. Given the [Justice] Department’s claims of promoting such dialogue, I do not understand the dramatic decision to arrest Carlos today,” Lanny Breuer said, according to Reuters.


Rao allegedly impersonated a YouTube executive in order to raise funds for his media startup.


While Rao has admitted responsibility, Watson has not been forthright about his alleged involvement in the incident.


“Watson acknowledged the incident on Twitter at the time but denied wrongdoing and chalked Rao’s behavior up to a mental health episode. Goldman did not ultimately invest, Watson said in the tweet,” Reuters reported.

In addition to the criminal charges against Watson and Ozy Media, the United State Securities and Exchange Commission filed a separate civil lawsuit against all parties.


Written by How Africa News

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