The Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 secured the convictions of two FBI suspects and four others before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Warri, Delta State for various offences bordering on impersonation, Internet fraud and operating a vessel within Nigerian Waters without due registration and licence by appropriate authority.
One of the convict, Patrick Erakposhere Onajokpe, alias John Mark was arraigned on a two count charge of fraudulently impersonating the identity of John Mark through which he defrauded unsuspecting American ladies.
One of the count reads: That you Chief Patrick Onajokpe (alias James Mark) Glory Agbare (at large) Alfred Akpewe (at large) Elena Onah (at large) sometime between 2014 and 2015 in Warri within the jurisdiction of this honourable court fraudulently impersonated the identity of one James Mark claiming to be a black American working in deep sea off coast of taxes, USA, in your hush app account where you enticed unsuspecting American ladies into romantic relationships online and in that process, obtained the aggregate sum of $878,489,24 from ladies and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 22(2)(b)(ii) of the Cybercrime (prohibition prevention, ets) Act 2015 and punishable under section 22(2)(b)(iv) of the same Act.
Upon his arraignment, the defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
In view of his pleas, the prosecution counsel, Aso Larry Peters, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant accordingly.
However, the defence counsel, Paul Ejiga, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendant was a first time offender and has become remorseful.
Justice Nwite convicted and sentenced Onajokpe to five years imprisonment, in the alternative, a fine of N6, 000, 000 (Six Million Naira). He is also to forfeit all items recovered from him which include a Range Rover Jeep, a Petroleum Filing Station, an uncompleted plaza and phones.
Justice Nwite also ruled that the properties be sold with the proceeds restituted to the victim of the crimes.
In a similar vein, the court also convicted MacDonald Chukwuma Nnamdi who was arraigned on a two count charge of obtaining personal identification information and using same to file fraudulent tax returns with the inland revenue service, USA.
The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him. The Prosecution counsel, Aso Larry Peters prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant accordingly.
The defence counsel John Okhuihiev be prayed the court to temper justice with mercy.
Justice Nwite sentenced the defendant to three years imprisonment with an option of one million naira fine.
One of the charges against him read. “that you MacDonald Chukwuma Nnamdi, Daniel Mercedis (at large) sometimes between 2018 and 2019 in Benin City within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did with intent to defraud used attached e-mail to obtain personal identification information of others online and used same to file fraudulent tax returns with the inland revenue service (IRS) of the USA and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 36(1) of the Cybercrime ( prohibition prevention etc)Act 2015.
Similarly, the Commission secured the convictions of Akinwade Olajide, Onume Kingsĺey, Kelechi Ogbuiton and Seje Skinn. They were arraigned for operating a motor vessel on Nigerian Waters without due registration and licence from appropriate authority. They were convicted and fined the sum of N600,000 (Six Hundred Thousand Naira) each. The judge also ordered that the defendants undertake in writing to be of good behaviour.