Judge Sentences Internet Fraudster To 600 Hrs Community Service

Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday convicted and sentenced an internet fraudster, James Eshiobonameh, to 600 hours of Community Service for identity theft and fraud.

Justice Awogboro handed down the verdict after the convict pleaded guilty to a one-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency had accused the convict also known as James Victory and Pablo, of impersonating one James Victory, by using the name on his Instagram profile to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

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The prosecutor, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari-Bala said the offence contravened Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2019 and was punishable under the same Act.

After the convict pleaded guilty to the charge, the court called on the investigator, Buluebre karamor or to review the fact of the case.

karamor told the court that the convict was arrested at an award ceremony organized by some fraudsters, who were celebrating their successful operations.

She said that during the interrogation of the convict, he admitted that he is a member of an internet fraud group and that they the group created a fraudulent Facebook account.

The investigator also told the court how the convict joined a website called aus.com, a website that provides services for families around the world. And how he posed as an old man that lives in Texas (USA) and needed assistance.

karamor further informed the court that when the convict’s iPhone 9 was analysed, it had a sim with an America number +1 8573084630 which he used in registering with an aus.com account, to contact the unsuspecting Service providers to further buttressed his claims that he lives in Texas (USA).

She tendered as evidence, the Convict’s iPhone 9, and extrajudicial Statement and some documents extracted from the phone, which were all admitted by the court.

The prosecutor then urged the court to sentence the convict by Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2019.

However, the defence counsel, O. Amubikaun, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy because his client is a first time offender.

Amubikaun also pleaded with the court to consider that the convict has been remorseful since he was detained in November last year and that he has learnt from his mistakes the hard way.

Justice Awogboro after listening to the lawyers sentenced the convict to 600 hours of Community Service.

The judge also ordered the convict to file an affidavit of good behaviour before he is released and that the iPhone 9 recovered from him be confiscated by the Federal government.

15th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph