Court Jails Undergrad One Year for $104,500 Romance Scam

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal Office, has secured the conviction and sentencing of an Internet fraudster, Adebowale Taiwo Abiola, to one year imprisonment before Justice O.A. Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos .

The convict, a 500-level student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, was arrested following intelligence reports received by the Commission about the criminal activities of a syndicate of Internet fraudsters residing in the Lekki area of Lagos.

Investigation revealed that Abiola, who resides at Brownstone Estate, Ikate, Elegushi, Lagos, had presented himself as Burton J. Smith, an American citizen, to defraud his unsuspecting victims.

It was further revealed that the defendant, while using the identity of Smith, also a former military personnel, had defrauded one Courtney Selina Kaye, who had sent money to him by selling Bitcoin from her Bitcoin Wallet on localbitcoin.com, of the sum of $104,500 USD in 2019.

He was subsequently arraigned on a one-count amended charge bordering on possession of fraudulent documents containing false pretence.

The count reads: “Adebowale Taiwo Abiola, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, had in your possession documents containing false pretence, which you ought to have known that the said documents contain false pretence.

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He pleaded ‘guilty’ to the charge brought against him.

Consequently, the prosecution counsel, I. A. Mohammed, reviewed the facts of the case and also told the court about the plea bargain entered into by the defendant with the prosecution.

The prosecution counsel, therefore, urged the Judge to sentence the defendant accordingly.

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Delivering her judgment, Justice Taiwo convicted and sentenced the defendant to one year imprisonment, with an option of fine of N300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira).

The Judge also held that the sum of N5, 000, 000.00 (Five Million Naira) recovered from the defendant be forfeited to the victim, Kaye, through the Federal Government

Justice Taiwo further held that the black Mercedes Benz GLK with registration number AKD 573 GK recovered from the defendant be forfeited to Kaye through the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Judge also ordered that the sum of N26, 620, 000 (Twenty-six Million, Six Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira), being the remaining part of $104, 500USD (One Hundred and Four Thousand, Five Hundred United States Dollars) fraudulently obtained by the convict from Kaye, be restituted through the Federal Government of Nigeria from the assets and property of the convict until the sum is fully recovered.

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The convict was ordered to enter into a bond with the EFCC to be of good behaviour and never involve in any economic and financial crimes, illegitimate or criminal act within and outside the shores of the country, after his release from the Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS, facility.

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