Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced Onuoha Danhessy Akachuku (alias Joe Dickson) to three months imprisonment, for defrauding an American, Maria Jose Alvarez the sum of $5,260 in a failed online romance deal.
Akachuku was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office, on April 27, 2017 on a seven -count charge bordering on Conspiracy and Obtaining Money by False Pretense.
One of the counts read: “That you Onuoha Danhessy Akachukwu (alias Joe Dickson) sometimes between 2015 and 2016, at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of Two Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy US Dollars ($2,370) from one Maria Jose Alvarez (an American) Via Money Gram which you transferred into your account number 3071174186 domiciled with First Bank Plc under the pretence that you are Joe Dickson an American Engineer based in the United Kingdom willing to marry her, a pretext which you knew to be false, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against him, thus necessitating his trial. The trial progressed and the prosecution counsel, R.E. Alao called three witnesses to establish the case. However, Akachuku applied for a plea bargain and changed his plea to “guilty” and the bargain was adopted by both the prosecution and defence counsels.
Justice Omotosho convicted him accordingly and sentenced him to three months imprisonment and a fine of N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) only. The convict was also made restitution the sum of $2000 to his victim.
Akachuku’s journey to prison began on April, 2017 when he was arrested and subsequently arraigned for using many false Facebook accounts to defraud one Maria Jose Alvarez, an American, of $5,260.
The convict had claimed to be an American Engineer based in the United Kingdom. With this disguise, he was able to hoodwink his victim into a romantic relationship which according to him, will lead to marriage.
However, rather than marry his victim as arranged, he contrived so many lies aimed at defrauding the American and succeeded in duping her to the tune of $5,260.