Justice M. Itsueli of Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State on Monday, September 4, 2023, convicted and sentenced four internet fraudsters to prison for fraud.
The convicts are Edah Edison, Akuche Cosmas Chigozie (alias Philip Anderson), Chidi, Iredia Endurance Eddy and Uchechukwu Victory Tabowei.
They were arraigned separately on one count charge of impersonation, possession of fraudulent documents and obtaining by false pretence by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
They were arrested based on intelligence which linked them to alleged internet-related fraud activities. During the investigation, Edison, 23, who claimed to be a university graduate was discovered to have impersonated Raymond Martin, a Bitcoin trader in order to defraud unsuspecting victims. On his part, 19-year-old Iredia, an electronic apprentice, represented himself as Barrowman, a British dancer in order to defraud his victim.
The charge against Iredia reads: “that you Iredia Endurance Eddy (m) sometime between 2019 and December 2021 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did with intent to defraud represent yourself to be Barrowman, a British dancer on your Instagram and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48 Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (As applicable in Edo State) 1976”.
Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, Francis Jirbo, Salihu Ahmed and Ibrahim Faisal, to pray the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Justice Itsueli convicted and sentenced Edison and Iredia to three years imprisonment or a fine of N500,000 each. Tabowei was sentenced to two years imprisonment or a fine of N500,000, while Chigozie bagged one-month imprisonment and a fine of N200,000.
The court ordered the convicts to forfeit their mobile phones to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the EFCC while Iredia will, in addition, forfeit the balance in his bank accounts to the Federal Government for onward delivery to the nominal complainant.
The convicts are to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour.