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Ozy Media founder Carlos Watson arrested

Carlos Watson
Source: Yahoo Sports

Federal court documents show that this week, Carlos Watson, the CEO and creator of troubled Ozy Media, was detained and charged with fraud.

As stated in the indictment, Watson “acted in a plan to mislead OZY’s investors, potential investors, possible acquirers, lenders, and potential lenders.”

According to the accusations, Watson defrauded investors, business partners, customers, and others “via substantial misrepresentations and omissions” regarding Ozy Media’s finances, investors, business partners, contracts, and possible acquisitions.

On Thursday morning, a representative from Ozy Media did not immediately reply to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice stated that Watson was granted bond in the amount of $1 million. On March 8, he must appear in court again.

In an email statement to CNN, Watson’s lawyer Lanny Breuer confirmed Watson’s detention.

The statement expressed “great disappointment” over the day’s events. A genuine and fruitful conversation was taking place between us and the government. It seems counterintuitive to me that the Department, which purports to encourage open communication, would suddenly decide to arrest Carlos.

Ozy Media Founder Carlos Watson Arrested on Fraud Charges – The Hollywood Reporter

Source: Yahoo Sports

It was The Wall Street Journal that broke the story. According to US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace, “Carlos Watson is a con guy whose business plan was built on brazen lying and fraud – he managed Ozy as a criminal organisation rather than as a respected media corporation.”

A law enforcement official has confirmed that the suspect was taken into custody by the FBI this morning at the Hotel NH Collection on East 38th Street in Manhattan. Watson faces a minimum term of two years in jail and a maximum of 37 years in prison if he is found guilty.

According to the US attorney’s office, former Ozy COO Samir Rao and COS Suzee Han have already pled guilty to charges related to their participation in the scam.

The accusations surfaced after an expose by The New York Times in 2021 revealed what the paper believed to be dishonest tactics by Ozy Media.

The upstart digital media outfit was threatened by a cascade of articles that began with an article in The New York Times.

Earlier this month, Semafor announced that Ozy Media was making a comeback. According to Semfaor, Watson, a former anchor and pundit for CNBC, CNN, and MSNBC, was making the rounds to convince marketers and investors to fund the venture.

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