Ozy Media is scrambling to find a lawyer to represent it against federal fraud charges

Ozy Media is scrambling to find a lawyer to represent it against federal fraud charges

Ozy Media billed by itself as “the New and the Next” as its charismatic cofounder, previous MSNBC and CNN host Carlos Watson, attracted millions of bucks from traders on a guarantee to draw in youthful, subtle audiences.

But on Wednesday, the at the time-buzzy enterprise failed to even have illustration in courtroom as it was arraigned on securities fraud and wire fraud charges. There was confusion when associates for the business have been a no-exhibit at its arraignment at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn. A decide experienced to enter a plea of “not responsible” on its behalf.

Outside the courtroom, a general public defender who experienced been hurriedly assigned to symbolize the firm at the hearing rapidly tried out to make perception of the circumstance. She asked a journalist what Ozy did and what the situation was about.

Afterwards, she was excused from what is predicted to be a elaborate and sprawling situation involving hundreds of 1000’s of documents and allegations that the company’s executives misrepresented its economic standing and the dimensions of its audience.

Allegations of fraud

Started in California’s Silicon Valley in 2013, Ozy marketed itself as a progressive electronic platform, delivering a spot for fresh views on news, society enjoyment, business and technologies. It released stories on a web page, generated podcasts and Television set displays and held an annual pageant in New York’s Central Park that was a combine of huge-identify music performances and talks by general public figures.

But prosecutors stated that whilst the organization in the beginning effectively raised tens of tens of millions of pounds to fund its advancement, it got desperate as it commenced hemorrhaging income.

Concerning 2018 and 2021, prosecutors stated, Ozy and its founders lied to investors about the company’s debts and other pertinent financial facts. The SEC contends that Watson and his corporation defrauded buyers of about $50 million.

The firm shut down in 2021, a 7 days immediately after a report by the New York Occasions specific an episode in which the firm’s chief running officer impersonated a YouTube executive through a pitch to Goldman Sachs, which had been looking at infusing cash into the media organization.

Federal prosecutors filed prison rates in late February accusing Watson and the business of bilking buyers. Watson was also charged with identity theft about the alleged impersonation of numerous media executives. He has denied the expenses and pleaded not responsible.

If convicted, Watson faces at least two many years in prison up to a utmost of 37 several years, according to prosecutors.

The company’s former chief operations officer, Samir Rao, pleaded responsible very last thirty day period, as did Ozy’s previous main of staff members, Suzee Han. Equally had been released on bail to await sentencing.

It was unclear why the organization has been unable to keep a attorney. Watson’s legal professional could not be arrived at for remark. The company ceased small business operations final 7 days.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Siegel instructed the judge that prosecutors wanted to commence with the case and questioned the judge to appoint a law firm for the enterprise until it can uncover an attorney of its have.