Criminal Law

Court sends four internet fraudsters to prison in Benin

Four internet fraudsters, Omokhua Bright, Nosakhare Uyi, Endurance Omonefe and Osasenaga Desmond were on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, convicted and sentenced to various jail terms by Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of Edo State High Court, Benin City.

The quartet was arraigned separately by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on one count charge of impersonation and obtaining by false pretence.

The charge against Uyi reads: “that you Nosakhare Uyi sometime in February 2022 in Benin City within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud falsely represented yourself as one Carey Stephen Bernard (an American soldier) on the WeChat Platform and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 484 of the Criminal Code law Cap 48, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976 and punishable under the same section”.

The charge against Bright reads: “that you  Omokhua Bright sometime between year 2020 to 21st  February 2022 in Benin City within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fraudulently impersonate the identity of one Micole, an American on your Instagram account with intent to defraud unsuspecting investors in bitcoin business and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code Cap 48, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976”.

Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges. In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Austin Ozigbu, K.Y. Bello and I. K. Agwai prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced the duo of Uyi and Desmond to three years imprisonment or a fine of N200, 000 and N300, 000 respectively. Bright bagged five years imprisonment or a fine of N300, 000, while Omonefe bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N150, 000.

The duo of Bright and Uyi are to forfeit their cars, Lexus 350 SVU and Mercedes Benz C300  to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

All the defendants are also to forfeit their phones to the Federal Government of Nigeria and undertake in writing to be of good behavior.

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