Carlos Watson, the CEO and co-founder of the digital media startup Ozy Media, has been arrested and charged with fraud following a former company executive’s guilty plea.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Watson is being charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He is expected to be arraigned in a Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court.
Court filings dated Thursday, as seen by the New York Times, revealed that Watson misrepresented the company’s audience numbers and financial results, intending to defraud Ozy’s potential investors, acquirers, and lenders.
In 2021, in a CNBC interview, Watson said that Ozy Media would not be shutting down after claiming that the company would cease its operations after an executive was caught lying about its business, which led to being investigated by the feds.
“We were premature,” Watson said on Squawk Box then. He added that Ozy had “good conversations” with investors and advertisers.
“We have lots of things we have to do to improve, but I very genuinely feel like we have a meaningful, transformational voice,” said Watson. “At our best, this will be our Lazarus moment.”
A former TV newser, Watson hosted CNBC’s The Edge with Carlos Watson in 2003. He joined CNN for the network’s coverage of the 2004 presidential election, and wrote CNN.com‘s main political column at the time. Watson became a dayside anchor for MSNBC in March 2009, and was named host of the network’s 11 a.m. timeslot in June of that year. He was taken off the hour just three months later.