10 Internet Fraudsters Receive Jail Terms in Calabar
In a significant victory for the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ten individuals involved in internet fraud have been convicted by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State.
The convicted fraudsters are identified as Isaac Uchenna Akuma, Praise Lucky Moses, Joel Akanimo, Afia Emediong Godwin, Archibong Unyime Inyang, Kelechi Richard Udochi, Prince Edet Okon, Promise Benedict Okon, Victor Eze, and Emmanuel Imoh Archibong.
The defendants faced separate charges, except for Archibong, who faced one count of fraudulent impersonation and obtaining by false pretense. One of the charges stated that Joel Akanimoh knowingly took possession and control of $1,200, which was part of the proceeds obtained through false pretenses, thereby committing an offense under the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act.
During the court proceedings, all the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them. Prosecutors S. S. Aribido and J. E. I. Ogbuli requested the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
However, the defense counsel, consisting of E. E. Osim, Koko Essien, Udeme Tom, and S. E. Omenyi, pleaded with the court to show leniency to their clients, emphasizing that they were first-time offenders.
After considering both sides, Justice Ojukwu convicted and sentenced nine of the defendants to six months imprisonment each, with an option to pay a fine of ₦1,000,000 (One Million Naira). Archibong, on the other hand, received a six-month imprisonment sentence with an option to pay a fine of ₦500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira). As Archibong had already spent more than the term in prison custody, he was released by the court.
Furthermore, the court ordered the convicts to restitute the amounts they had defrauded from their victims. Akuma was ordered to restitute $205, Moses $1,000, Akanimo $1,200, Godwin $200, Inyang $100, Udochi ₦230,000.00, and Okon ₦820,000.00. Promise was instructed to restitute $1,500 Canadian dollars or its equivalent in Naira, while Eze was ordered to restitute $800.
The successful prosecution and sentencing of these internet fraudsters serve as a stern warning to others involved in such criminal activities. The EFCC continues to be resolute in its fight against cybercrime, aiming to safeguard the interests of Nigerian citizens and maintain the integrity of the nation’s financial systems.