In one fell swoop, 14 internet scammers have been convicted and jailed by a Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River state.
The scammers were arraigned by the Uyo Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Monday.
They were charged individually.
Justice Simon Amobeda delivered the summary judgment.
The convicts are; Victor Chikeluba Ogadibo, Unwana Aniefiok Edem, Michael Omos, Emediong Iwoenang, Christian Alvan Okechukwu, Ogbuechi Anderson Ifeanyi and Anozie Chinonso Franklin.
Others are; Clinton Njoku Onyekachi, Princewill Chisom Egerue, Akpodiete Moses, Innocent Samuel Japhet, Ugwuegbu Fredrick Ikenna, Ndulaka Felix Chukwuebuka and Opara Ozioma Daniel.
The charge against Clinton Njoku Onyekachi read: “That you Clinton Njoku Onyekachi (A.K.A Casey Nelson Cooper) on or about the 8th day of August 2020 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself, fraudulently impersonated Casey Nelson Cooper (An American soldier) on social media (Instagram) and defrauded Veronica (An Indonesian) in the sum of Two Thousand Dollars ($2000) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (3) (a) & (b) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (b) (iv) of the same Act”.
All the accused pleaded “guilty” to the charges preferred against them.
Delivering judgment, Justice Amobeda convicted and sentenced the defendants as follows; Unwana, Fredrick and Franklin were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N500,000.00; while
Clinton, Anderson, Victor, Felix and Opara bagged 6 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N200, 000. 00.
The court further ordered that Clinton, Victor and Anderson restitute the sum of $2,000 and $3000 and $200 respectively to their victims through the prosecution.
Princewill and Moses were sentenced to 12 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N700, 000. 00 while Christian, Michael and Innocent were sentenced to 12 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N1, 000, 000. 00. Emediong bagged 3months imprisonment with an option of fine of N100, 000, 00.
Also, the convicts are to forfeit instruments used to commit the crime which include their phones, HP laptops, 1 HP Probook and cars to the Federal Government.
While Iwoenang, Okechukwu, Edem and Innocent were arrested at their apartment located at 3 Ring Road, off Shelter Afrique, Uyo on September 9.
Others were nabbed during a three-hour raid on September 8 at Sight and Services within World Bank in Ugwuma town and Road Safety by Toronto Road, Owerri North, Imo state.
They were arrested based on intelligence.
Upon arrest, the 14 convicts admitted to the crime and made confessional statements.
Forensic analysis of their phones and laptops revealed that some of them specialized in love scam.
Others impersonated United States military personnel purportedly on foreign mission, who needed financial help as they could not access their funds.
They made their victims give them gift cards which they changed to Bitcoin and then to Naira.