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31 Internet Fraudsters Bag Jail Terms in Enugu, Awka

The Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has secured the conviction and sentencing of 31 internet fraudsters by Justices Mohammed Garba Umar of the Federal High Court, sitting in Enugu and Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, sitting in Awka, Anambra State.

The convicts are: Pascal Chinedu, Chiemerie Edeh, Okeke Chiagozie Harrison, Chidera Victor Mmadu, Chizoba Onyedika Felix, Ekperechi David, Sunday John Cross, Enenta Ebube Michael, Nwankwo Tochukwu Firminus, Chukwuebuka Sebastine Ozoemena, Vincent Eduvie, Chisom Mbagu Augustine, Ifeanyi Samuel, Abunoko Kelly, Ikechukwu Joshua, Agada Daniel Olema, Eguiri Franklyn and Akpoze Julius.

Others are, Evans Odibo, Martins Chinedu Ugwueke, Eli Izuchukwu Ogbonna, Samuel Ogbonnia, Amarachi Abigail Nwalue, Abraham Chimeremeze, Godbless Akpoze, Mmoyekwe Okwudili, Emmanuel Nwanga, Eduje Precious, Umoke Chinedu Reuben, Godwin Happy and Nnabuike Collins Odoh.

While Chinedu, Edeh, Harrison, Mmadu, Felix, David, Cross, Michael, Firminus and Ozoemena were arraigned on February 21, 2024 before Justice Umar, the remaining 21 convicts were arraigned on February 22, 2024 before Justice Dimgba.

The 31 faced  one-count separate charges bordering on fraudulent impersonation, obtaining by false pretence and possession of fraudulent documents, to which they all pleaded “guilty.”

Onyedika’s charge reads: “That you, Chizoba Onyedika Felix, sometime in February 2024, in Asaba, Delta State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud, sent a message to one Sig Serdel, a German National by means of your Redmi Note 11 through your fake telegram account +19086996877 presenting yourself as Loraine Francis,  Bitcoin investor and obtained the sum of $1,300 from Sig Serdel and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14 (2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section.”

In view of their “guilty” pleas, Nuradeen Shehu Ingawa and Michael Ikechukwu Ani, counsels to the EFCC, reviewed the facts of the cases and prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly, while C. J. Nwatadi, Bernard Okeke, U. AKposi, Arinze Anyigo, C. S. Nwobodo, E. C. Chinyeze and Collins Akpusi, who were defence counsels, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, stating that their clients were first-time offenders.

Justice Umar convicted and sentenced  Michael, Ozoemena, Cross, Chiedu and Firminus to 12 months imprisonment each, with a fine option of N500,000.00( Five Hundred Thousand Naira) respectively. He handed 24 months imprisonment with a fine option of N750,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) to Felix, sentenced Harrison and Mmadu to 18 months imprisonment each, with a fine option of N500,000.00 respectively. He also sentenced Edeh to 10 months imprisonment with a fine option of N300 ( Three Hundred Naira) while David bagged six months imprisonment with a fine option of N200,000.00( Two Hundred Thousand Naira). In addition to his sentence, Justice Umar ordered Felix to make a restitution of the sum of $1,300( One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Dollars) to his victim through the Federal Government.

Justice Dimgba convicted and sentenced Odoh and Olema to one year imprisonment each, with a fine option of N150,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) respectively, while the rest 19 were sentenced to two weeks of community service.

All the convicts forfeited their mobile phones recovered from them to the Federal Government.

They bagged their imprisonment after they were arrested at various locations by operatives of the Enugu Zonal Command of the EFCC for their involvement in internet-related offences. They were charged to court and convicted.

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