Internet Fraudster Bags Five-year Jail For N379.5m Scam

Internet Fraudster Bags Five-year Jail For N379.5m Scam

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Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has sentenced one Augustine Ighodalo to five years imprisonment for criminal offence bordering on retention of proceeds to the tune of $1,049,251.84 (about N379,457,206.00)

The convict was arraigned on September 26, 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office on a three-count charge bordering on “transfer of criminal proceeds to a nominee”, following intelligence received by the Commission from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

Meanwhile, two brothers, Solomon and Godspower Nwachukwu were arraigned on Monday before Justice I. U. Bello of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, sitting in Bwari, Abuja, on separate one-count amended charge, bordering on cyber crime and obtaining money under false pretence.

Prosecution counsel, Maryam Aminu Ahmed, had prayed the court to amend the charge, dated September 27, 2019.

The charge against Godspower reads: “That you, Gospower Nwachukwu sometime in April 2016 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honorable court fraudulently induced one Matthew Scott, a citizen of United States of America to deliver the sum of $1,900 (One Thousand Nine Hundred Dollars) to you through bitcoin online payment and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 320 (a) of the Penal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 (Abuja) and punishable under Section 322 of the same law.”

The charge against Solomon reads: “That you, Engr.  Nwachukwu Solomon sometime in April 2016 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, fraudulently induced one Janet Allen, a citizen of the United States of America to deliver the sum of N230,000 (Two Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira)  to you via www.linkedin.com and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 320 (a) of the Penal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 (Abuja) and punishable under Section 322 of the same law.”

The defendants pleaded guilty to the amended charges, when they were read to them.

Defence counsel, Abaji Abel did not object to the amended charges, but urged the judge to temper justice with mercy as his clients were both remorseful. He pleaded that the defendants being first-time offenders should be given a second chance, especially as they had already forfeited all proceeds of the crime traced to them, including a iPhoneX to the federal government, following a plea bargain agreement.

Justice Bello sentenced the brothers to three years imprisonment each with an option of  N1,500,000 fine (One Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) to be paid to the EFCC for onward return to their victims through the US Embassy, as restitution.

“The defendants shall also depose to an affidavit of undertaking to be of good behavior,” the judge added.

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