The Uyo zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, October 2, 2020, secured the conviction of four internet fraudsters before Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River state.
The convicts are Daniel Banks Ibe, Ubochi Christian Ikechukwu, Chiagozie Obialor Morris and Njoku Paul Chibuike.
They were among the 22 suspected internet fraudsters arrested by operatives of the Commission on Monday, September 8, 2020 at different locations in Imo state.
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During investigations, it was discovered that the convicts set up fictitious social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp) where they impersonated United States military personnel on peace keeping mission in Yemen. With the false identities, they succeeded in fleecing their unsuspecting victims of thousands of Dollars. When defendants were confronted with damning evidence, they admitted to the crimes and made confessional statements.
One of the separate count charge brought against the defendants reads, “That you Ubochi Christian Ikechukwu on or about the 8th day of September, 2020 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself did defraud one Ms. Loren (An American) in the total sum of $1000 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (3) (a) & (b) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention E.t.c) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (b) (iv) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded guilty to the charges.
In view of their pleas, Joshua Abolarin, counsel to the EFCC, urged the court to convict them. He also prayed the court to order the forfeiture of all proceeds of the said crime to the Federal Government.
Delivering judgment, Justice Amobeda condemned the prevalent wave of cyber criminality by young Nigerians who no longer desire to work hard, but want to make quick money.
The court then sentenced Ikechukwu to 6months imprisonment with an option of fine of two hundred thousand naira; Morris to 6months imprisonment with an option of fine of three hundred thousand naira; Ibe , 2months imprisonment with an option of fine of fifty thousand naira , while Chibuike bagged 2months imprisonment with an option of fine of ten thousand naira.
The court also ordered that all instruments used for the crime which include a Toyota Corolla car, one HP laptop, an Apple laptop and several sophisticated mobile phones be forfeited to the Federal Government.