In a significant development, U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan have brought criminal charges against Nigerian fintech entrepreneur Odogwu Banye Mmobuosi. The former co-CEO of Tingo Group, who recently pursued an English Premier League soccer team bid unsuccessfully, stands accused of securities fraud, making false U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and conspiracy.
Mmobuosi, also known as Dozy Mmobuosi, allegedly misled investors about the financial health of his companies, Tingo Mobile and Tingo Foods. The indictment asserts that he misrepresented both businesses as profitable, with hundreds of millions in revenue. The entrepreneur is accused of orchestrating a scheme from 2019 to 2023, involving the sale of his businesses to Tingo Group and Agri-Fintech Holdings.
The indictment claims that Mmobuosi caused these entities to present the businesses as lucrative, while he misappropriated cash and sold stock at inflated prices, resulting in millions of dollars in illicit gains. Notably, the alleged fraudulent activities came to light nearly seven months after short-seller Hindenburg Research raised concerns about Tingo Group’s financials.
Despite temporarily stepping down as co-CEO on December 20, following SEC civil charges, Mmobuosi remains at large. The SEC previously accused him of siphoning at least $16 million from Tingo Group for personal indulgences, including attempts to buy a soccer team and lavish expenditures.
Tingo Group, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is yet to respond to requests for comments. Meanwhile, the indictment is expected to shed light on the intricate details of the alleged financial misconduct as legal proceedings unfold.