US Charges Nigerian Businessman with Multimillion-Dollar Fraud

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission charge Tingo Group Inc. and its CEO, Mmobuosi Banye, for allegedly inflating financial metrics in a multi-year scheme to defraud investors.
Mmobuosi Banye
Mmobuosi BanyeThe punch

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Tingo Group Inc. provided false information about having $461.7 million in its subsidiary Tingo Mobile's Nigerian bank accounts, despite having only $50 in said accounts.

SEC made this announcement on Monday while disclosing charges against Mmobuosi Banye, also known as Dozy Mmobuosi, and three affiliated US-based entities, of which he serves as the Chief Executive Officer—Tingo Group Inc., Agri-Fintech Holdings Inc., and Tingo International Holdings Inc.

The commission alleges that Mmobuosi is facing charges in connection with an asserted multi-year scheme aimed at inflating the financial performance metrics of his companies and key operating subsidiaries to deceive investors globally.

SEC specifies that it is actively seeking emergency relief to halt the defendants' ongoing dissemination of materially false information to investors and to safeguard corporate and investor assets.

In a statement, SEC said, “The SEC’s complaint, filed on December 18, 2023, alleges that, since at least 2019, Mmobuosi spearheaded a scheme to fabricate financial statements and other documents of the three entities and their Nigerian operating subsidiaries, Tingo Mobile Limited and Tingo Foods PLC. The complaint further alleges that Mmobuosi made and caused the entities to make material misrepresentations about their business operations and financial success in press releases, periodic SEC filings, and other public statements.

“For instance, Tingo Group’s fiscal year 2022 Form 10-K filed in March 2023 reported a cash and cash equivalent balance of $461.7m in its subsidiary Tingo Mobile’s Nigerian bank accounts. In reality, those same bank accounts allegedly had a combined balance of less than $50 as of the end of fiscal year 2022. According to the SEC’s complaint, Defendants also fabricated the customer relationships that formed the basis of their purported businesses.

“The complaint alleges that Mmobuosi and the entities he controls have fraudulently obtained hundreds of millions in money or property through these schemes, and that Mmobuosi has siphoned off funds for his personal benefit, including purchases of luxury cars and travel on private jets, as well as an unsuccessful attempt to acquire an English Football Club Premier League team, among other things.”

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