The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged the founder of Mozido, a financial technology firm that a few years ago attracted funding from Tiger Management founder Julian Robertson Jr., of defrauding investors out of more than $48 million.
Michael Liberty engaged in a scheme to “trick hundreds of investors into investing in his shell companies instead of Mozido,” raising more than $48 million according to an SEC statement Monday.
He and his accomplices, including his wife Brittany Liberty and attorney George Marcus, then allegedly stole most of the investor capital to "fund a lavish lifestyle that included private jet flights, multi-million dollar residences, expensive cars, and movie production ventures,” the SEC alleged.
“These investments were sold as a chance to get in early with a seemingly promising fintech company,” said Paul Levenson, director of the SEC's Boston office, in the statement.
Mozido is a mobile payments startup that in 2014 received funding from a group of investors including MasterCard, Wellington Management and Tiger Management's Robertson, the company announced at the time. In October 2014, Mozido was valued at $2.2 billion, according to research firm Crunchbase.
In November 2016, Liberty pled guilty to illegally making $22,500 in presidential primary campaign contributions — well above the individual limit of $2,500. He was sentenced to four months in jail and was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine in August 2017, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Mozido executives Todd Bradley and Scott Ellyson left the company around the same time, according to a Forbes report last year.