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Alleged $1.2m US Visa Scam: Court Takes Final Written Address Dec 11

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, adjourned till December 11, 2023, adoption of final written addresses in the trial of one Marco Antonio Ramirez, an American businessman, for an alleged $1.2m fraud. 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Ramirez alongside his companies, USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP, for an alleged $1.2 million EB-5 visa scam.

The prosecution alleged that the defendant obtained the money from his victims as a processing fee,  for their investments in his company,  USA Now Energy Capital Group LP , in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) United States of America Investor Programme,   that would qualify them to be eligible for the issuance of USA Green Card.

The defendant, however, allegedly reneged on his promise.

He was initially arraigned on 12-count charges to which he pleaded “not guilty”. He was also re-arraigned by the EFCC on June 24, 2022 on an amended 16-count charge.

At the June 24, 2022 sitting, prosecution counsel, M.S. Owede informed the court of the amended 16-count charges.  

Count 13 of the amended  charge reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP, between 5th February 2013 and 18th April 2013 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $545,000 property of Godson Onyemaechi Echegile.”

Count 14 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP, between 12th July 2012 and 7th November 2012 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court , dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $314,800 property of Abubakar Umar Sadiq.”

Count 15 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP, between 19th February 2013 and 18th April 2013 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $230,000 property of Abubakar Umar Sadiq.”

Count 16 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP , between 14th June 2013 and 26th September 2013 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $149,000 property of Olukayode Sodimu.”

He, again, pleaded “not guilty” to the amended charges when they were read to him.

Based on Ramirez’s pleas,  trial thereafter commenced in the  alleged $1.2 million fraud charge against him.  The defendant opened his defence denying all the charges of stealing and obtaining money under false pretence and also closed his case.

Justice Dada adjourned till December 11 and 12, 2023 for adoption of final written addresses. 

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