Four persons including a 19-year-old have been convicted and sentenced to prison for their involvement in internet fraud.
This was disclosed by the Head of Media and Publicity, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Wilson Uwujaren on Tuesday.
The convicts, Edah Edison, Akuche Cosmas Chigozie Chidi (alias Philip Anderson), Iredia Endurance Eddy, and Uchechukwu Victory Tabowei, were convicted by Justice M. Itsueli of Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, on Monday, September 4, 2023.
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 anti-graft agency.
Their arrest was facilitated by 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.
According to the charge against Iredia, he had some time between 2019 and December 2021 in Benin City, with intent to defraud, represented himself to be Barrowman, a British dancer on his Instagram, thereby committing 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.
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, while Tabowei was sentenced to two years imprisonment or a fine of N500,000, and 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.