Justice Toyin Bolaji Adegoke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Uyo, has convicted and sentenced three internet fraudsters: Onyemaechi Martins Chikere, TochukwuThankGodAmuzie and Promise Okon to one-year imprisonment each, without an option of fine, for offences bordering on criminal impersonation.
They were jailed on Wednesday, last week,after pleading guilty to one-count separate charge preferred against them by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The charge read: “That you, TochukwuThankGodAmuzie, sometime in 2022 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself, fraudulently presented yourself as RahulLilapara, Birmaram Kumawat, Eko Yudho, Navid80, Mikhailm73, Dhaval Panchal, Puji, Eliptic Trad.co and Coinmatic Financial Investment, as an American Bitcoin Manager to your victims on social media platforms and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (b) (iv) of the same Act”.
They pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to them individually.
In view of their pleas, counsel to the EFCC, S. R. Akinrinlade, prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
However, both defence counsel,UdemeTom and I. G. Udofia, pleaded for leniency.
Adegoke convicted and sentenced the trio to one-year imprisonment each, without an option of a fine.
The court also ordered that all instruments used in committing the crime be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The convicts met their waterloo on April 12, 2022 when operatives of the UyoZonalCommand of the EFCC arrested them, acting on verified intelligence that linked the convicts to some online criminal activities, including the impersonation of foreign bitcoin managers with intent to defraud unsuspecting citizens.
In a related development, Adegoke remanded one Celestina IfenyinwaAdebayo at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Uyo for her alleged involvement in land fraud.
The defendant was arraigned by the Uyo Zonal Command of the EFCC on a one-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N3,604,000.00 (Three Million, Six hundred and Four Thousand Naira).
She pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Adebayo allegedly sold a landed property which she claimed belonged to her but failed to provide the documents to the complainant, Chinenye Elvis, after being paid the agreed amount.