An internet fraudster, Mr. Dehinbo Oluwatobi Reuben, has forfeited N210,287,697.45, N5,320,373.40, N15,008,809.79 and $80.59 to the Federal Government.
Justice Saliu Sai’du of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, yesterday, ordered the final forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government.
Similarly, on the same day, in Ilorin, Kwara, Justice M. Abdulgafar of Kwara State High Court, convicted and sentenced an internet fraudster, Ajayi Temitope Charles, to 35 years in prison without an option of fine
Charles was first arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on March 13, 2019, for engaging in internet fraud.
Justice Sai’du had, on May 16, 2019, ordered an interim forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government, following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC.
In grating the application, Sai’du ordered the applicant, the EFCC, to publish the interim forfeiture order in any national newspaper for the respondent, Reuben, or anyone who was interested in the sums of money to show cause, why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In compliance with the order, the commission had published the interim forfeiture order a newspaper and subsequently filed a motion on notice dated June 19, 2019.
At yesterday’s proceedings, the judge, upon hearing the applicant’s motion on notice, supporting affidavit and written address, ordered the final forfeiture of the various sums of money found by the commission in the various accounts of the respondent domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) to the Federal Government.
The respondent, a member of a syndicate of fraudsters, which specialised in identity theft, wire fraud and mail fraud, had been arrested following intelligence report received by the commission.
The EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, said: “Investigation revealed that the syndicate obtained the stolen Personal Identification Information (PIN) of over 250,000 individuals in the US and used the details to file fraudulent Federal and State tax returns. The syndicate obtained monetary value on the fraudulent tax returns, using prepaid cards registered with the stolen information and third party bank accounts.”
Speaking on Charles issue, Orilade noted that a five-count charge was levelled against the accused.
One of the charges reads: “That you, Ajayi Temitope Charles, popularly known as Teresa Simons on or about the 27th of February, 2019, in Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, had in your possession document, which you knew contained false pretence, and thereby, committed an offence contrary to Section 6 and 8(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
He had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting the commencement of his trial. However, at the end of the trial, Justice Abdulgafar ruled that the EFCC proved its case against him, “beyond reasonable doubts.”
The judge held that: “The evidence of PW1, Olamide Sadiq, was left unchallenged by the defendant, all the chats and text messages were printed from his email address in his presence. I have considered the testimonies of the PW1, this honourable court is of the opinion that the PW1 is a witness of truth, the accused person indeed was in possession of fake documents, and the prosecution has sufficiently linked the defendant to the email address.”
Delivering judgement, Abdulgafar further rejected as untrue, the testimony of the convict where he claimed that the police brought him to the office of the EFCC on the day of his arrest following his inability to pay the money they requested for.
He said: “The story of the defendant being sent to the EFCC because he did not pay bribe to the police could not hold water, he lied to the court. I do not believe the evidence of the defendant, and the prosecution has proved this case beyond reasonable doubt.”
Thereafter, Justice Abdulgafar pronounced him guilty as charged.
He then sentenced Charles to seven years in prison on each of the charges.
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