Justice A. T. Mohammed of a Port Harcourt High Court, Rivers State has reportedly convicted and sentenced to jail 33 persons over internet fraud.
They were brought before the court by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over three cyber criminal offences.
The convicted persons were arraigned before the court separately on one count charge, bordering on impersonation and obtaining by false pretences.
They were: Okei Morrison Onome, Ejiro Nwaju, Oki Alex Efe, Omoghene Gift, Collins Odinaka, Onyue Martins Ifeanyi, Azubuike Christian, Achiever Effiong, Adeniyi Michael Femi, Eze John Paul, Akinayomide James, Adejube Isaac Oluwadunsin, Isaac Phillip, Ibrahim Olalekan Olagoke and Paul Obinna Thomas.
Others are Damilola Michael, Umoru Mosuru, Dotun Ogunboye Olaleye, Adekunle Joshua, Elliot Igunbor, Ezomo Junior, David Oluwatobi, Ereoman Emmanuel, Oyetunde Victor Temitope, Nurudeen Abiodun Imole and Adeboye Victor.
The charge against one of them reads: “That you Adebuje Isaac Oluwadunsin on the 5th day of August, 2021 at Ondo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fraudulently impersonate the identity of one Michelle Orton a (white woman) and citizens of the United States of America in your Samsung S8 and email address firstname.lastname@example.org to gain advantage for yourself and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i) and (ii) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(iv) of the same Act”.
Three Sureties who were arraigned for perversion of justice are Lewis Ogenkhene, Ughoshe Adolphus and Osazuwa Efosa Robertson.
The charge against Ogenkhene reads: “That you Lewis Ogenkhene (m) on or about the 15th day of September, 2020 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did knowingly make a false statement to Detective Ajisafe Wasiu an officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the course of the exercise of the duties of his office which statement is untrue in any material particular and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 39(2)(a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under Section 39(2)(b)of the same Act”.
All the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges when they were read to them.
The prosecution counsel, Francis Jirbo, Austin Ozigbu and Ibrahim Mohammed prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced the quartet of Imole, Olagoke Ibrahim, Odinaka, John Paul, Adekunle Joshua to three years imprisonment with the option of N500, 000 fine each. The duo of Damilola Michael and David Oluwatobi were sentenced to two years imprisonment or N300, 000 fine each. Others bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N200, 000 each while
the three sureties bagged two years imprisonment with option of N100, 000 fine each.
In another ruling today, August 26, Justice Mohammed convicted Oladepo Olawale, Victor Benjamin and Adeboyega Muritala Idowu for impersonating foreign nationals in their attempt to defraud unsuspecting victims.
Adeboyega Muritala Idowu was discovered to have falsely presented himself as Bendik Phillip, John Micepl to defraud an American citizen of $19,650USD.
The charge against Idowu reads: “that you Adeboyega Muritala Idowu, aka Bendik Phillips, (John Micepl ) between 2019 and 2021 at Alagbaka area of Ondo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did with intent to defraud, send messages which materially represented your identity to Mellisa, an American lady upon which she relied and suffered financial loss in the sum of $19, 650 (Nineteen Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Dollars) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i) and (ii) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(iv) of the same Act,”
The defendants pleaded guilty to the charge.
In view of their plea, prosecution counsel, Francis Jibro prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly..
Justice Mohammed convicted and sentenced Idowu to five years imprisonment or a fine of N300, 000. The duo of Benjamin and Olawale bagged two years term with the option fine of N200, 000 each.
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The court also ordered the forfeiture of the sum of N6.4 million recovered from the bank account of Adeboyega Muritala Idowu to the Federal government of Nigeria.