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Three jailed for internet fraud In Ibadan

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Ajao Jamal and Kehinde Tobi

A Federal High Court judge, Ibadan division, Justice Joyce Abdulmalik on Wednesday sentenced three Internet fraudsters to prison, having found them guilty of criminal charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office.

 

The trio – Ajao Jamal, Olawale Joel and Kehinde Ridwan Tobi – were re-arraigned after approaching the Commission for plea bargain.

 

Ajao and Joel were jointly brought before the court on a one-count amended charge bordering on fraudulent impersonation, an offence contrary to Section 27(1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(4) of the same Act. They pleaded guilty to the charge.

 

EFCC counsel Oyelakin Oyediran thereafter prayed the court to sentence them according to the terms of the plea bargain agreement.
They were jailed six months each.

 

Kehinde, who was tried separately, was originally arraigned on June 28 on a three-count charge of being in possession of fraudulent documents contrary to Section 6 and 8(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.

 

The defendant equally later approached the Commission for a plea bargain.
Based on the plea bargain arrangement, he was re-arraigned on October 7, 2019 on a one-count amended charge bordering on fraudulent impersonation. He also pleaded guilty to the said charge.

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However, Kehinde’s day of reckoning only came on Wednesday when the presiding judge sentenced him to one year in prison.
He was also ordered to forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria his Iphone 6s Plus, a Nokia phone, an HP Laptop, one ZTE modem WIFI and an Itel phone.

 

Apart from their jail terms, the court also ordered Ajao and Joel to restitute through the Federal Government to their victim the sum of USD $800 (Eight Hundred United States Dollars). They are also to forfeit all items recovered from them during the investigation.

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Crime & Court

$1.49m: EFCC Nab Ex-Bank Manager, Wife Over Alleged Money Laundering Scheme

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested a couple, Rowly Isioro, a former Assistant General Manager with one of the first generation banks and his wife, Ovuomarhoni Naomi Isioro, a businesswoman, for their alleged involvement in Business Email Compromise fraud and money laundering.

The EFCC in a statement informed that their arrest followed a petition received by the Commission from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, through the office of the Legal Attache, United States Consulate, Lagos, about their alleged involvement in computer-based fraud, stealing and money laundering.

The couple allegedly laundered the total sum of $1.49m through Ovuomarhoni’s bank account in Nigeria.

“So far, an investigation revealed that Naomi met one Michael Uziewe (who is still at large) in  Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, sometime in 2016, and introduced her to foreign exchange business.

“Through this encounter, Naomi and her banker husband turned their two registered companies, Marhoni General Services Limited, and Multaid Plus Limited, into a conduit for the dispersal of funds wired by Uziewe, who allegedly owns Global Investment network.”

The Commission further  explained that Naomi, in statements volunteered to the Commission, confirmed she had been receiving monies in Dollars, with instructions to pay the naira equivalent into accounts provided by Uziewe.

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“Facts have also emerged that each time Naomi receives the Dollar transfers, she makes over the counter withdrawals, in breach of financial regulations that such transactions go through the financial system, and sell them to Bureau de Change operators for Naira equivalents.

“Rowly Isioro, a banker of over 22 years’ experience has also confessed that he was aware that someone his wife met in the United States of America, sends her Dollars, while she pays the naira equivalent to various accounts on the instruction of the US-based partner.

“Rowly was allegedly relieved of his appointment with the bank as a result of his involvement in the money laundering scheme,” the statement concluded.

 

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EFCC Reveals How Mompha, Lebanese Friend Were Arrested After Allegedly Laundering N33bn

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has revealed how suspected internet fraudster and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha; and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih were arrested after allegedly laundering the sum of N33billion.

In a statement published on the website of the anti-graft agency, Koudeih is a Lebanese, resident in Lagos, Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower.

The statement reads, “he has high net worth allies that include social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as (Mompha), whom the Commission picked up on Friday, 18 October 2019 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while he was on his way to Dubai, United Arab Emirate. Mompha’s arrest laid the path to that of Koudeih,”

EFCC unearthed further that Mompha camouflages as a bureau de change operator and has used his firm-Ismalob Global Investments Limited-to launder about N14 billion while Koudeih through his THK Services Limited and CHK properties Limited has laundered about N19 billion.

“Evidently, the two are kingpins in a criminal web of cybercriminals who through the three firms, laundered a jaw-dropping N33 billion.

“Before the arrest, EFCC added that both men had featured on its and United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) radar as a high valued target in Organised Cyber Syndicate Network (OCSN) and particularly as honchos in a trans-national network of cybercriminals.

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“Worrisome is that Mompha was able to successfully operate 51 fraudulent bank accounts, through which the monies were laundered even with the enhanced account tracking and surveillance which the Bank Verification Number (BVN), introduced by the Central Bank of Nigerian in February 2014 provides,” the statement added.

Revealing how Koudeih was arrested in his house in Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, the commission narrated, “Armed with precision Intel, additionally gathered by the EFCC, its operatives tracked him to his lair in Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower and placed the piece of the real estate, where he has his apartment on a lockdown.

“The lack of cooperation from the Lebanese as well as that from the owners and administrators of Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower left the EFCC with two options-beats a retreat or muscle through. It settled for the latter, reinforcing with men and breaching tools against the armoured door.

“The operatives relentlessly deployed the tools against the door, expending more than three gruelling hours before they overcame.”

Head Cybercrime, EFCC, describing the arrest said “It was very difficult to gain entry. It was almost like a standoff. We had to send for reinforcement of officers and breaching tools from the office. We had to breach the triple-reinforced fire-proof door before we could get in.”

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In his reaction, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr  Ibrahim Magu, said Koudeih and Mompha’s arrests are landmark achievements for the Commission in its fight against cyber crimes and a red alert to potential fraudsters.

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Alleged N4bn Misappropriation: EFCC Free 16 Kwara LG Chairmen

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has freed the 16 Local Government Chairmen of Kwara State earlier invited for questioning into the alleged misappropriation of N4bn loan and ten percent of Internally Generated Revenue.

The EFCC in a statement disclosed that the LG Chairmen were released after volunteering statements to the Commission.

Also, the Commission through its  Head, Media & Publicity,  Wilson Uwujaren clarified that the invited men were not detained, contrary to reports.

“They were invited over allegations that border on misappropriation of part of the N4bn loan obtained from Sterling Bank for the payment of arrears of salaries and pension of local government employees and teachers through the State Universal Education Board, SUBEB. They also allegedly diverted 10 percent of state internally generated revenue.”

“The Chairmen, after a meeting, decided that N100,000,000.00 (one hundred million Naira) be shared among themselves from the loan.

“All the council chairmen were released after questioning on Friday, November 1, 2019, contrary to reports in mainstream and social media, that they were detained by the Commission. “

EFCC, however stated that investigations are still ongoing.

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