Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State, has sentenced 14 Internet fraudsters to various jail terms.
The scammers were arraigned by the Uyo Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday and were charged individually.
The fraudsters, Victor Ogadibo, Unwana Edem, Michael Omos, Emediong Iwoenang, Christian Okechukwu, Ogbuechi Ifeanyi, Anozie Franklin, Clinton Onyekachi, Princewill Egerue, Akpodiete Moses, Innocent Japheth, Ugwuegbu Ikenna, Ndulaka Chukwuebuka and Opara Daniel, were arraigned before the court by the EFCC and pleaded guilty to the charges.
The charge against Clinton Njoku Onyekachi read: “That you Clinton Njoku Onyekachi (A.K.A Casey Nelson Cooper) on or about the 8th day of August 2020 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself, fraudulently impersonated Casey Nelson Cooper (An American soldier) on social media (Instagram) and defrauded Veronica (An Indonesian) in the sum of Two Thousand Dollars ($2000) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (3) (a) & (b) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (b) (iv) of the same Act”.
Justice Amobeda sentenced Edem, Ikenna and Franklin to six months’ imprisonment each with an option of N500,000 fine, while Onyekachi, Ifeanyi, Victor, Ndulaka and Opara were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment each with an option of N200,000 fine.
Princewill and Moses were sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment each with an option of N700, 000 fine, while Christian, Michael and Innocent were sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment each with an option of N1m fine.
Emediong was sentenced to three months imprisonment with an option of N100, 000 fine.
The court further ordered that Onyekachi, Victor and Ifeanyi should return the sums of $2,000, $3,000 and $200, respectively to their victims through the prosecution and should forfeit the instruments used to commit the crime, including their phones, laptops and cars to the Federal Government.
Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement on Tuesday, said the 14 convicts admitted to the crime and made confessional statements to the agency.
He added that forensic analysis of their phones and laptops revealed that while some of them specialised in love scams, others impersonated military personnel of the United States purportedly on a foreign mission and needed financial help as they could not access their funds.
Uwajaren also stated that the convicts made their victims give them gift cards, which they changed to Bitcoin and then to naira.
Become a Student Volunteer Journalist…