Waleed Ahmed is a 22-year-old inventor and entrepreneur from Norway, who was revealed to actually be a conman who scammed numerous investors, including one who was tricked into fronting money for a Justin Bieber concert tour in Scandinavia. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Waleed Ahmed Claimed to Have Invented an iPhone Cover
Waleed Ahmed first gained fortune in his 20s for “inventing” an iPhone cover that uses solar energy to charge its phone, reports WPTV. The invention skyrocketed him to fame and led him to meet many international elite, including the prince and princess of Norway, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and CNN founder Ted Turner. Norway’s government even posted a video on its website of Ahmed meeting with Norway’s minister of trade and industry to show off his invention, while the country’s media dubbed him as the “Mark Zuckerberg of Norway.
2. He Conned a Businessman Into Thinking He Was Investing in a Justin Bieber Tour
The young businessman approached California investor Todd Weinberg and proposed a business venture to gain the rights to Justin Bieber’s tour in Scandinavia after an initial investor failed to come up with the money. Ahmed claimed that he had already paid $4.5 million to Scooter Braun Management, Bieber’s management company, and that the deal would turn a profit of $10 million.
“He said that he had come across an opportunity to help find money for an investor who could fill the gap for this tour that Justin Bieber is currently on,” Weinberg said. “And I said, ‘Well I don’t understand, how does that work?’”
Although the investment sounded legitimate, Weinberg was still a bit skeptical and wanted to meet in person before moving forward. The pair met in Burbank, California and Ahmed introduced Weinberg to the team he assembled for the investment. Weinberg said the young buisnessman even looked the part.
“He was Prada and Gucci from head to toe,” Weinberg said. “He was a nice guy, but he also had a bit of an edge and arrogance about him.”
Later that day, Weinberg and the team all signed a contract. However, Weinberg was the only one to put up money. He paid $860,000 to Ahmed for concert venues and $140,000 to Karmic Management, one of three Los Angeles-based companies assigned to handle entertainment, public relations and sponsorships for the Bieber project, to get a website created and for other parts of the deal.
3. Ahmed Was Arrested Last September
Weinberg said he and the other companies got nervous when Ahmed disappeared for 10 days.
“Well, you can imagine after 10 days, we are freaking out,” Weinberg said. “Something is not right. Well, he surfaces and tells us, ‘I’m sorry, you know, I was basically out for a Muslim holiday. I was out for Ramadan, and I’m sorry, but I am back. Let’s go.’”
Things started to not add up and when Weinberg had enough of listening to Ahmed talk in circles, he contacted the FBI to get involved. On September 23, 2012, the FBI arrested Ahmed and admitted that the whole deal with Weinberg was a con job.
“I have disgusted many, I have been the source of shame and disrespect for my friends, family, community and followers,” Ahmed said in a three-page letter to U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez. “I accept my crime, while I regret every bit of time, all I have with broken words, is that I really regret every minute spent committing it.”
4. Justin Bieber’s Manager Said He Never Heard of Ahmed
Ahmed claimed to be in contact with Justin Bieber’s talent manager, Scooter Brain, but a spokesperson for Braun said that he never heard of Ahmed. Other famous people the conman claimed he knew also that they they had never heard of him.
5. He’s Conned Other Companies
In 2011, Ahmed made a deal with an Atlanta medical supply company to distribute specialty medical gloves called “EKG gloves” to the Middle East, but the deal eventually went bad and the company was stuck with thousands of gloves. He also fooled another investor out of $600,000 in another scam after pretending he was part of a development project. There are even doubts that his supposed iPhone invention is even his own.