Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, operatives from the Uyo zonal office, on Thursday, October 8, 2020, secured the conviction of two music producers and two others, on cybercrime charges, before Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State.
The convicted music producers are Obot John Aniedi and Odok Valentine Metun, while the others are Williams Peter Obinna and Okoro Edwin Chigozie.
While Obot and Odok were arrested on September 11, 2020, at their residence located at 3 Ring Road, Shelter Afrique, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Williams and Okoro were nabbed on September 8, 2020, at their apartment located at “Sight and Services” within “World Bank” in Ugwuma town, Owerri, Imo State.
The quartet was arrested based on intelligence received in the zone, concerning their involvement in various cyber crimes.
According to the investigation, while some of them set up various fictitious accounts on Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB), an Asian-American dating website, others impersonated American military personnel, to defraud their victims.
They all admitted to the crimes.
One of the separate count charge for which they were convicted reads: “That you Okoro Edwin Chigozie (aka Afando Stevens) on or about the 8th day of September 2020 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself, did fraudulently impersonate and presented yourself to Eloisa Vasquez as Afando Stevens (a supposed American military officer) on social media platform (Facebook) and obtained the sum of One hundred and fifty American Dollars ($150) 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”.
They pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against them by the EFCC.
In view of their pleas, Joshua Abolarin, counsel to the EFCC, informed the court of the plea bargain agreements entered between them and the prosecution and urged the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Counsel to the defendants, Innocent Eze, Arit Robert, C. O. Ijom and Friday Solomon informed the court that the convicts were first-time offenders and prayed for leniency.
Delivering judgement, Justice Amobeda convicted and sentenced them as follows; Okoro, Odok and Obot were sentenced to 3 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N200,000 (two hundred thousand naira), while Williams was sentenced to 6months imprisonment with an option of fine of N200,000 ( two hundred thousand naira).
He ordered that their mobile phones and laptops be forfeited to the Federal Government.