Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City has convicted and sentenced three internet fraudsters to jail for fraud.
The convicts, Oziegbe Famous, Clifford Johnson, and Emmanuel Osas Uwadiae, were arraigned by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on separate counts of impersonation and obtaining by false pretence.
They were said to have impersonated foreign nationals in order to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
The charge against Oziegbe Famous read: “That you Oziegbe Famous on 30th March 2022 in Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did with intent to defraud represent yourself to be one, John Mark, with Gmail account email@example.com with intent to defraud unsuspecting Internet users into forex trading and gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 484 of the Criminal Code Cap 48 Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (As applicable in Edo State) 1976.”
The charge against Clifford read: “That you Clifford Johnson sometimes between January 2022 and 23rd May 2022 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did with intent to defraud represent yourself to be Ray Mckasyi, an American Army personnel residing in the USA on the Instagram platform and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48 Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (As applicable in Edo State) 1976.”
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC prompting the prosecution counsel, A.A.Ozigbu to pray the court to convict and sentence them accordingly. However, the defence counsel, B.E Ambrose and F.E Oberagbo pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders who had become remorseful for their actions.
Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Famous and Johnson to two years imprisonment with an option of N300,000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira) fine while Emmanuel Osas Uwadiae bagged two years imprisonment with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira fine.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of a Mercedes Benz C300 2016 model and Toyota Camry recovered from Famous and Johnson respectively to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The defendants are also to forfeit their phones to the Federal Government of Nigeria, being proceeds and instruments of fraud.