• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Tingo CEO faces 45 years in prison for US securities fraud

Tingo Group denies fraud allegations, calls Hindenburg’s report “opinion”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has charged Odogwu Banye Mmobuosi, CEO of Tingo Group with securities fraud, making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and conspiracy. The Tingo CEO is still at large according to the FBI.

The charges were filed by Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI.

According to charge document, Dozy Mmobuosi, “allegedly orchestrated a massive scheme to inflate Tingo Group’s financial statements and make it appear as though the cellular and agriculture companies he founded were profitable and cash rich companies when, in fact, they were not. With this indictment, Mmobuosi’s alleged deceitful scheme comes to an end.”

Tingo Group had come under fire last year when the SEC formally accused Mmobuosi and three companies he leads as CEO, accusing them of inflating their financial performance to defraud investors. The charges filed in the United States District Court in New York described the scope of the fraud as “staggering”.

“Defendants have booked billions of dollars worth of fictitious transactions through two Nigerian subsidiary companies Mmobuosi founded and controls, reporting hundreds of millions of dollars of non-existent revenues and assets. For example, Tingo Group’s FY 2022 Form 10-K filed in March 2023 reported a cash and cash equivalent balance of $461.7 million residing in Tingo Mobile’s Nigeria bank accounts. However, authentic bank records for the same accounts show a balance of less than $50 for that period,” the court document read.

According to the new charges, Mmobuosi’s one count of conspiracy charge could see him face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one count of securities under Title 15, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of making false filings with the SEC, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.