The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged media and entertainment company Ozy Media Inc., its CEO Carlos R. Watson, Jr., its former COO Samir Rao, and its former Chief of Staff Suzee Han with defrauding investors of approximately $50 million through repeated misrepresentations concerning the company’s basic financial condition, business relationships, and fundraising efforts. Rao and Han have agreed to resolve the charges against them.
According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least January 2019 through September 2021, the defendants routinely and purposely presented prospective investors with false financial information that grossly inflated Ozy Media’s annual revenue by at least 100 percent. Watson and Rao also allegedly solicited investments by repeatedly and falsely telling prospective investors that well-known and sophisticated investors would be investing in Ozy Media in some capacity.
The SEC’s complaint further alleges that Watson and Rao orchestrated a scheme in which Rao impersonated an executive from YouTube in an effort to support Ozy Media’s false claims to a prospective investor at the time that the company was receiving licensing revenue from YouTube when it was not.
Source: SEC.gov | SEC Charges Ozy Media and its CEO Carlos Watson with Widespread Scheme to Defraud Investors