The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has sentenced a 500-level student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, to one-year imprisonment for defrauding a foreigner, Courtney Kaye, of $104,500.
The court also held that the sum of N5 million recovered from the defendant, Adebowale Abiola, be forfeited to the victim, Kaye, through the Federal Government.
As gathered, the defendant, while using the identity of Smith, also former military personnel, had defrauded Kaye, who had sent money to him to sell bitcoin from her wallet on a cryptocurrency platform of the sum of $104,500 USD in 2019.
Abiola was arrested following intelligence reports received by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Lagos zonal office, about the criminal activities of a syndicate of internet fraudsters residing in the Lekki area of the state.
He was subsequently arraigned on a one-count amended charge bordering on possession of fraudulent documents containing false pretence and pleaded guilty.
The count reads: “Adebowale Taiwo Abiola, sometime in 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, had in your possession documents containing false pretence, which you ought to have known that the said documents contain false pretence.
Delivering her judgment, Justice O.A Taiwo convicted and sentenced the defendant to one-year imprisonment, with an option of fine of N300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Naira).
Justice Taiwo further held that the black Mercedes Benz GLK with registration number AKD 573 GK recovered from the defendant be forfeited to Kaye through the Federal Government of Nigeria.
She further ordered that the sum of N26 million being the remaining part of $104, 500 fraudulently obtained by the convict from Kaye, be restituted through the Federal Government of Nigeria from the assets and property of the convict until the sum is fully recovered.
The convict was ordered to enter into a bond with the EFCC to be of good behaviour and never involve in any economic and financial crimes, illegitimate or criminal activities within and outside the shores of the country, after his release from Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS, facility.
Earlier, after the arrest, Investigation revealed that Abiola, who resides at Brownstone Estate, Ikate, Elegushi, Lagos, had presented himself as Burton J. Smith, an American citizen, to defraud his unsuspecting victims.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, I. A. Mohammed, reviewed the facts of the case and also told the court about the plea bargain entered into by the defendant with the prosecution.
The prosecution counsel, therefore, urged the Judge to sentence the defendant accordingly.