More than a year after the media company was shut down after losing millions of dollars, the CEO of Tony Media has been arrested while being charged with fraud.
Carlos Watson, the founder of the startup business, Ozy Media was arrested on fraud charges. The embattled CEO was accused of having “engaged in a scheme to defraud OZY’s investors, potential investors, potential acquirers, lenders and potential lenders.”
Watson said on Twitter that he has been a “hard-working entrepreneur” who helped build the company from scratch and he plans to “fight these charges with everything I have.”
“I have worked around the clock for 10 years to build this company and devoted my life savings to help get us through rough patches. This has been a life’s work and I am proud of what I, my family, and my team have been able to accomplish.”
“I’m not saying I haven’t made mistakes – I have. But it’s fair to ask, why I’ve been singled out? OZY is a real and valuable company that was built through an enormous amount of hard work and sacrifice,” he continued.
Watson pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors allege that he made “material misrepresentations and omissions” about the company as part of a scheme to defraud investors, lenders and potential investors, acquirers and lenders.
The company and Watson have been under federal investigation since The New York Times reported in 2021 that Rao impersonated a top YouTube official in a conference call with possible investors from Goldman Sachs and praised Ozy Media’s success.