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$545,000 fraud: EFCC absence stalls trial of American



Absence in court of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday stalled the trial of an American, Marco Ramirez, who allegedly defrauded three Nigerians of $545,000 in a green card scam.

Mrs Vera Agboje, the lead EFCC prosecutor, notified an Ikeja high court  via a letter that she would be absent due to an official engagement.

Justice Josephine Oyefeso acknowledged that Agboje wrote to the court ahead of time to inform it that she would be absent.

Reacting, Mr Ademola Adefolaju, Ramirez’s  counsel said: “I also received a letter from the prosecutor; in light of this, I will be requesting for a further date.”

Justice Oyefeso adjourned the case until May 7 for hearing.

On June 22, 2017, EFCC filed a 16-count charge bordering on obtaining under false presences against the American.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge, and was granted bail by Oyefeso on July 10, 2017, in the sum of $250,000 with two sureties in like sum.

Ramirez, who had been convicted in absentia of fraud-related offences in the U.S., was said to be the Managing Director of three companies – USA Now Plc., Eagleford Instalodge Group and USA Now Capital Group.

The American was alleged to have fraudulently received $545,000 from one Amb. Godson Echejue to invest in his company.

The plan was to procure an American green card (permanent residence card) for Echejue.

Ramirez allegedly received $10,000 from one Mr Abubakar Umar through a non-existent investment programme in the U.S. which would make Umar eligible to obtain an American passport.

The EFCC also accused Ramirez of illegally receiving $10,000 from one Mr Olukayode Sodimu on the pretext that the funds were facilitation fees with the American Immigration Services for an American Green Card.

According to the EFCC, he committed the offences between February 2013 and August 2013, in Lagos. (NAN)

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