Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday convicted and sentenced a woman, Alaba Kareem Adeyemi and her son, Damilola Ahmed Adeyemi, to three years imprisonment over a $82,570, 000 fraud.
Justice Aneke handed down the verdict after the convicts pleaded guilty to four count charge of conspiracy, internet fraud, obtaining under false pretence and impersonation brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The convicts, were arrested and arraigned before the court after a report released by the America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), indicting the convicts and some other Nigerians.
An EFCC counsel, Bilikisu Buhari had told the court that the convicts alongside one Karren Russel, (still at large) conspired among themselves and fraudulently impersonated the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American Cranes Manufacturing Company and defrauded its of the sum of $82,570.00.
The two convicts pleaded guilty to the charge, the development that pave was for the prosecution to review the fact of the case.
While reviewing the fact of the charge, a detective with the anti-graft agency, Inspector Idi Musa, told the court that sometimes in April 2019, EFCC received a petition from the FBI and upon analysing the petition, the two convicts were arrested.
He stated, “Sometimes in April, 2019, the EFCC received an intelligence from the FBI of United State of America against the two defendants and others at large.
“The intelligence revealed that a United State manufacturing company’s official email was hacked by the first defendant and other co-conspirators at large, as a result, the company lose the sum of $82, 000 USD.
“The first defendant and others engaged in businesses of mail compromise, romance scam targeted at US citizen, where the victims loss various amount of Dollars to the first defendant, Damilola) and his syndicates.
“These funds were transferred to the Russel Karren account domiciled in Commonwealth Bank of Australia, after which it was transfered to the first defendant’s account with Standard Charter Bank of Nigeria between 2016 and 2019.
“During investigation, all accounts linked to the first defendant was traced and it was then we discovered that the first defendant had received the total sum of $311, 000 USD through his bank accounts with Standard Charter Bank and Polaris Bank”.
Musa further informed the court that the second defendant, Alaba, who is a mother to the first defendant received over N50 million from the proceed of crime.
He also stated that the two convicts were arrested on September 6, 2019, after which their statements were taken.
The detective further told the court the the first defendant used the sum of N34.8 million to buy property from Andron Homes and Properties, in the name of the second defendant, his mother.
Musa told the court that the sum of N21.6 million traced to the account of Crystal High Homes and Properties in the name of their company, Great Mush Homes and Properties.
He also informed the court that the sun of N10 million, $24, 585, USD; N421, 0000, was traced to the account of the second defendant domiciled in Polaris Bank. While one IPhone was recovered from the first defendant.
Upon conclusion of the review of the fact of the case, the prosecutor, Bilikisu Buhari, urged the court to admit the FBI’s petition, the defendants’ statements and the iPhone as exhibits, as well as convict the defendants as charged.
The convicts’ counsel, Kayode Omoya, did not oppose the prosecution’s request.
Based on the development, the court admitted the petition, defendants’ statements and the iPhone as exhibits B1 and B2.
Justice Aneke also pronounce the convicts guilty of the charge.
Following the guilty verdict, the convicts’ counsel pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy, as they are first time offenders without previous record of conviction.
The counsel further told the court that the first convict is a graduate and the only child of the second convict who is a widow.
He also told the court that both the mother and the son have become remorseful and undertake not to engage in the act again, since they were arrested and being in custody for more than 40 days.
He urged the court to give them a second chance by giving them an option of fine instead of remanding them in custodian sentence.
In sentencing the convicts, Justice Aneke held, “I have carefully considered the plea for leniency of the counsel, Omoya.
“However, the court is mindful of the offences committed d by the convicts, which has dent the image of the country both home and abroad.
“Everyone have has the duty to change the narrative.
“Consequently, this court sentence the first convict, Damilola Ahmed Adeyemi and the second convict, Alaba Kareem Adeyeri to three years imprisonment on count one, two, three and four.
“All the term shall run concurrently and starting from the date of arrest”.
After sentencing the convicts, the prosecutor urged the court to forfeit the sum of of N38.8 million, used in buy property with Andron Homes and Properties.
He also urged the court to forfeit the sum of N21.6 million in Crystal High Homes account domiciled in Polaris bank, N10 million belonging to Alaba Karrem Adeyemi.
Also the sums of $24, 585 USD and N421, 329, 00 domiciled in Polaris Bank, belonging to Damilola and the IPhone recovered from the first convict, to the Federal government of Nigeria.
The prosecutor’s request was granted as Justice Aneke ordered the forfeiture of the funds and iPhone to the Federal Government of Nigeria.