Court Sends Internet Fraudster To 5 Years Imprisonment
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo (Mrs) of an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos sentenced one Olaniyi Ogungbaiye, to 5 years in prison for retaining the sum of 9.2 million naira which was a stolen property and transfer of property derived from an illegally act with the aim of disguising the illegal origin.
The convict was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a four-count charge bothering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, obtaining money by false pretence, retaining stolen property and transfer of property derived from an illegally act to disguise the illegal origin but convicted on only two count charge.
Justice Taiwo while delivering her judgement stated “In the view of this court, the circumstantial evidence is strong and compelling.
“The circumstantial evidence is strong enough to support the charge in Section 328(1) and Section 333(a) and (b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State. Section 322 deals with the issue of money laundering.
“The circumstances before this court clearly and forcibly show that the defendant committed the offences of retaining money believed to be stolen and transfer of property derived from an illegal act.
“On the offence of possession of fraudulent document, I am in agreement with the defence that the prosecution failed to prove the defendant was in possession of fraudulent document.
“The prosecution was able to prove that the defendants and others were into cyber-crime activities. The prosecution has not tendered any fraudulent document before this court and I so hold.
“I find the Defendant guilty of the offence of retaining stolen property or property illegally obtained under Section 328 (1) of the Criminal. I find the Defendant guilty under Section 333 (1) (a) and (b) for transfer of property derived from an illegally act with the aim of disguising the illegal origin.
“I find the defendant not guilty of possession of fraudulent document. I find that the prosecution has failed to prove the offences of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence and obtaining money by false witness.”
Defence counsel, Mr Pius E. Sodje, gave allocutus on behalf of the defendant urging the honorable court to tamper justice with mercy and to exercise its discretion and given that defendant who was in custody for 5 months a lenient sentence.
Prosecuting counsel for the commission, F.O Ofoma, against the submission of the defence counsel told the court “the prosecution opposes the allocutus of defence.
“The defendant was approached to make a plea bargain but he refused. He has wasted the time of the court and resources of the federal government.
“The court, having heard the allocutus of both counsels gave final verdict.
“I have considered the allocutus of defence counsel and submission of the prosecution. The offence of money laundering is very rampant in Nigeria, particularly amongst cyber-crime offenders.
“The persons who launder illegally obtained funds help conceal the illicit source of such funds thus enabling the fraudsters to perpetrate their crimes.
“In the light of this, I sentence the defendant to 3 years imprisonment with no option of fine on the count brought under Section 328 Criminal Law of Lagos State. I sentence the defendant to 2 years imprisonment for the offence under Section 333 Criminal Law of Lagos State. Sentences to run concurrently.”
The commission received a written petition sometime in 2018 from the FBI requesting for investigation into the activities of the defendant and his conspirators, Olarenwaju Osiefa and Daniel Ethan in respect to a dating scam, business email compromise.
The commission opened its case on the 8th of June 2020, calling on three witnesses against the defendant which included a foreign national investigator from the FBI.
Ofoma, EFCC prosecutor said that the convict aided the commission of the offences through the receipt of the funds which enabled the commission of the offence.
That it was the defendant’s account that was the medium through which the defendant and his co-conspirator used to obtain the said funds from their victim which aided execution and completion of their criminal acts.
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