By Evelyn Usman
Three Nigerian youths that posed as foreigners to defraud their supposed foreign lovers, through Internet, have been convicted and sentenced to prison by Justice Fatun Riman of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The trio of Daniel Iluobe, Ifeanyi Chukwudi Paul and Godwin Joseph Ovboke, defrauded their supposed female lovers of $1,600 and 600 pounds, respectively.
Iluobe, while posing as a Chinese, with the name Huang Guang, sent electronic messages to a Chinese woman promising her marriage. In the course of the conversation, he demanded $200, which his unsuspecting victim sent to him via Western Union.
Ovboke, as gathered, portrayed himself as Lancelot Degory, a United States citizen and succeeded in defrauding one Cheow Lim of $1,400, after he lied to her that he was going to meet her in Singapore where they were supposed to get married.
Paul, on the other hand, claimed he was a Construction Engineer based in Syria. He succeeded in defrauding one Simone Cardoso of £600 with a false promise of marriage.
The convicts were arraigned on separate charges and all three pleaded “guilty” to the one-count charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Before they were convicted and sentenced, the prosecuting counsel, N.K. Ukoha, prayed the court to allow his witness to take a stand and review the facts of the cases.
How they were arrested
The prosecution witness, Joseph Simon Akor, an EFCC operative, narrated how the convicts were arrested at different locations and on different dates, following intelligence gathered during surveillance.
He told the court that Paul was arrested on May 5, 2019, at his apartment on Charles Effiong Close, Satellite Town, Calabar, while Ovboke and Iluobe were arrested at Itagbor Agbeansa area of Calabar.
“During investigations, forensic analysis carried out on their laptops showed that they were into Internet fraud as we saw all the electronic messages they used to dupe their victims,” he said.
After leading the witness in evidence, Ukoha then urged the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
While delivering judgement, Justice Riman sentenced Iluobe to two years in prison with an option of fine of N50,000, and ordered that the convict must restitute the entire sum of $200 to his victim.
Ovboke was sentenced to two years in prison with an option of fine of N100,000 and ordered to refund $1,400 to the victim as restitution.
Paul was also sentenced to two years in prison with an option of fine of N100,000. He was also ordered by the court to pay back £600 to the victim he defrauded.
The court also ordered that all three convicts forfeit every item recovered from them at the point of arrest to the Federal Government.