Every year Ernst & Young organizes the prestigious event 'Entrepreneur of the Year'. The competition, hosted in more than 50 countries, appoints the best entrepreneur in each of the participating countries. The winners per country then enter a global competition after which a 'Global Entrepreneur of the Year' is appointed. Last year the prize "Global Entrepreneur of the Year went to the successful Kenyan James Mwangi, CEO of Kenya's Equity Bank Limited.
Although in most cases the title Entrepreneur of the Year is a stepping stone to success, this is not in all cases true. Last week it was announced that a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner has been arrested on charges of fraud.
Claudio Osorio, former president of InnoVida Holdings, was accused of two counts of wire fraud and one count of major fraud, according to the Attorney in the US. In addition to felony fraud charges, Osorio and the former CFO of the holding company have also been charged with fraud by the Security and Exchange Commission.
Osorio's firm declared bankruptcy in 2011 after the firm failed to deliver on promises to build fibre composite panels in new homes and building construction projects. Prior to the firm's bankruptcy, InnoVida earned interest from several high-profile businesspeople and politicians, including Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and brother of ex-president George Bush. Governor Bush eventually joined InnoVida's board of directors, while Osorio was siphoning funds from the company to support his lavish lifestyle, according to prosecutors.
"From his lap of luxury, Osorio concocted a compelling story about InnoVida by recruiting an impressive board of directors and boasting a bogus financial condition to lure investors into funding his scheme of lies," the Attorney said in a statement.
Claudio Osorio was voted Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" in 1997, when he owned CHS Electronics. That firm went bankrupt in 1999, after settling a class-action lawsuit with shareholders and an investigation of international tax fraud.