The Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday secured the conviction of eight internet fraudsters before Justice F.A Olubanjo of the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, for offences bordering on impersonation with intent to defraud.
The convicts are Eleadi Godspower, Okoh Paul, Okoro Marvelous Atiti, Osaro Osasere, Osamwonyi Precious Etinosa, Godstime Imariebe, Ohumumwen Osaaremen and Christopher Momudu.
Paul, Atiti, Osasere, Etinosa, Imariebe, Mamudu and Osaaremen were prosecuted on a one-count charge of intent to defraud, while Eleadi Godspower and his company, Eleadi and Sons Energy Ltd were arraigned for fraudulent impersonation.
The charge against Eleadi Godspower reads: “That you Eleadi Godspower and Eleadi and Sons Ltd, sometimes between February 2018 and October 2019 at Sapele, Delta State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did aid one Ahmef Ohwerhi (now at large) to fraudulently impersonate other persons abroad with intent to obtain the sum of $ 1,463,570 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27(1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22(1)(b) (iv) of the same Act”.
The charge against Etinosa reads: “That you, Osamwonyi Precious Etinosa, sometimes between year 2019 and 12th September, 2021, at Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, sent electronic message which materially misrepresented your identity to Yvonne Elsey, an American upon which she relied and suffered financial loss in the sum of N 32, 431.814 and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act 2015.”
The defendants pleaded “guilty” to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC, prompting the prosecution counsel, Francis Jirbo, to ask the court to convict and sentence the defendants in line with their guilty plea.
Justice Olubanjo, convicted and sentenced Paul, Marvelous, Osariemen, Momudu, Etinosa and Imariebe to five years imprisonment with an option of N1 million each.
Eleadi Godspower and his company, Eleadi and Sons Energy Ltd were sentenced to five years imprisonment with an option of N1.5 million as fine.
Osasere, however, bagged five years imprisonment with an option of N500,000 as fine.
The judge also ordered that an uncompleted storey building/land within Ugbeyiyi village, Sapele, Delta State; Commercial Hotel at Igbeku / Adjekimoni Road, Igbeku, Amukpe, Sapele, Delta State; two Lexus vehicles RX 350; a Mercedes Benz ML 350; two Lexus vehicles ES 350; a Range Rover Evoque; a red GL Mercedes Benz; iPhone 11 ProMax; four iPhone 12 ProMax; iPhone 6 plus; one Techno spark 5 Pro; one Apple Wrist Watch; and a cash sum of N23,182,212.97 million being proceeds of crime recovered from the convicts be forfeited to the Federal Government.