Nigerian founder of Tingo Group wanted by US prosecutors after scamming US investors by falsifying Tingo’s worth

In 2022, Tingo Group reported substantial cash and cash equivalents, totaling $461.7 million for the fiscal year. However, subsequent investigations revealed a stark contrast, with its bank accounts holding less than $50 in total.

Founder on the Run

The founder and CEO of Tingo Group, Odogwu Dozy Mmobuosi, a Nigerian entrepreneur, is currently evading U.S. prosecutors after they disclosed detailed criminal charges against him.

These charges revolve around the accusation that Mmobuosi deliberately reported fictitious revenues and assets, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, for three companies under his control.

Charges and Maximum Sentence

Mmobuosi faces charges of conspiracy, securities fraud, and making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The severity of these charges brings a potential maximum sentence of 45 years in prison, and as of now, prosecutors report that Mmobuosi is on the run.

Orchestrating a Scheme

According to the indictment, Mmobuosi allegedly orchestrated a scheme to deceive by falsely representing his Nigerian companies, Tingo Mobile and Tingo Foods, as operational and highly profitable.

These misrepresentations suggested that the businesses were generating significant revenue, a claim that investigations later found to be unfounded.

Fabricated Financials and False Valuations

In 2022, Tingo Group reported substantial cash and cash equivalents, totaling $461.7 million for the fiscal year. However, subsequent investigations revealed a stark contrast, with its bank accounts holding less than $50 in total.

Mmobuosi, in various interviews, inflated Tingo’s user base to 12 million and touted a valuation of $6.3 billion in 2021. These statements, it appears, were based on fabricated financials.

Reverse Mergers and Siphoned Funds

Reality caught up with Mmobuosi’s grand claims when it was discovered that Tingo’s listing on the Nasdaq, achieved through a series of reverse mergers, was allegedly grounded in false financial information.

This listing facilitated access to U.S. investors and capital, enabling Mmobuosi to siphon an estimated $16 million from Tingo Group.

Unraveling the Deception

The house of cards built on Mmobuosi’s grandiose assertions began to crumble when Hinderburg Research, a renowned American short seller, raised doubts about Tingo’s financials and operations, categorizing it as a massive fraud.

Subsequently, on December 18, the SEC initiated an investigation into Tingo Group, leading to the suspension of trading in its shares. Two days later, Mmobuosi temporarily stepped down from his position.

The once-prominent entrepreneur now faces the repercussions of an elaborate facade, leaving both investors and the industry in the aftermath of a spectacular downfall.

Lessons for Investors

Investors should exercise utmost caution and diligence in scrutinizing the financial records of potential investment opportunities to safeguard themselves from potential scams.

Instances like those involving companies such as 54Gene, Dash, Payday (which later sold) and now Tingo, which have previously been accused of deceiving investors through falsified records, underscore the critical importance of thorough due diligence.

Before committing any funds, it is imperative for investors to conduct a meticulous examination of a company’s financial statements, audits, and overall financial health.

Engaging with reputable financial analysts and conducting independent research can provide valuable insights into the legitimacy and transparency of a company’s financial practices.

Verifying the accuracy and authenticity of financial information ensures that investors make informed decisions, mitigating the risk of falling victim to fraudulent activities.

By prioritizing a comprehensive assessment of company books and financial disclosures, investors can fortify their position against potential scams and contribute to a more secure investment landscape.

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