Nigerian Fintech tycoon faces U.S. charges over alleged financial deception, after failed bid for Sheffield United

U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan have brought forth criminal charges against Odogwu Banye Mmobuosi, a Nigerian fintech entrepreneur, following his failed bid for an English Premier League soccer team. The charges involve accusations of misleading investors regarding the financial status of his companies.

Mmobuosi, formerly the co-CEO of Tingo Group, faces allegations of securities fraud, making false filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and conspiracy, as revealed in an indictment disclosed on Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, the defendant, known as Dozy Mmobuosi, purportedly misrepresented Tingo Mobile’s cellular business and Tingo Foods’ agriculture business as lucrative ventures, fabricating revenues worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They further alleged that Mmobuosi sold both entities to Tingo Group and Agri-Fintech Holdings (TMNA.PK), misrepresenting them as “cash-rich, revenue-generating companies” while embezzling millions of dollars through cash misappropriation and selling overpriced stocks.

The indictment spans a period from 2019 to 2023, with Mmobuosi currently at large. As of now, legal representation for him has not been identified.


Despite requests for comment, Tingo Group, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, has not promptly responded to queries.

Mmobuosi had temporarily stepped down from his position as Tingo Group’s co-CEO on Dec. 20, following civil charges by the SEC, which accused him of orchestrating an extensive fraudulent scheme. The SEC alleged that he diverted at least $16 million from Tingo Group, using the funds for personal indulgences like luxury car purchases, private jet travel, and an unsuccessful attempt to acquire the Sheffield United soccer team while it was in the lower Championship league.

The SEC’s complaint revealed that Tingo Mobile claims to provide mobile handsets and services to farmers in Nigeria, while Tingo Foods operates as a purported food processor.

While Tingo Group is a defendant in the SEC case, it has expressed its intent to vigorously defend itself against the allegations.


The public revelation of the indictment comes after Hindenburg Research, a short-seller, raised doubts about Tingo Group’s financial integrity around seven months ago, accusing the company of fabricating financial records. They also contested Mmobuosi’s assertion of creating Nigeria’s inaugural mobile payment app.

The case has been identified as U.S. v. Mmobuosi, filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, under No. 23-cr-00601.

The case adds to Mmobuosi’s legal history, including previous allegations of obtaining goods through false pretence and issuing dishonoured cheques, involving millions in Nigeria, where his co-defendant remains at large.

In 2018, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the duo of Mmobuosi Odogwu Banye, a.k.a. Dozy, and Collins Chionuma before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja but the case was stalled due to the absence of the second defendant.


They were arraigned on an 8-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and issuance of a dud cheque to the tune of N31 million.

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