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Court in Benin sentences six internet fraudsters to prison, orders forfeiture of Cars to FG

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Six individuals were convicted and sentenced to various prison terms on Monday, September 25, by Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City.

They are Napoleon Efe Miracle, Efetobore Prosper Eghagha, Jephthah Godbless Azino, Akiefe Desmond, Chukwuyenum Kenneth Ifeakachukwu, and Efetayobor Ochuko.

Their legal troubles commenced with their arrest by EFCC operatives who acted on actionable intelligence regarding alleged fraudulent activities in Egbiki and Oputo Communities, Ovwian, and the Udu Local Government Area of Delta State.

One of the charges read: “That you, Chukwuyenum Kenneth Ifeakachukwu, on or about the 8th day of September 2023 in Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did have in your possession documents which you knew or ought to have known contained a false pretense and thereby committed an offense contrary to sections 6 and 8(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”

Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges, leading the prosecution counsel, F.A. Jirbo, to request the court convict and sentence them accordingly. However, the defense counsel pleaded for leniency, arguing that the individuals were first-time offenders who had expressed remorse for their actions.

Justice Ikponmwonba handed down sentences, with Ifeakachukwu, Miracle, Eghagha, Azino, and Ochuko each receiving three years’ imprisonment with the option of a fine of five hundred thousand naira. Desmond, on the other hand, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or a fine of three hundred thousand naira.

Additionally, the judge ordered the convicts to forfeit a Range Rover Evogue 2013 model SUV, a Toyota Venza 2010 model car, a Lexus RX350 2010 model car, and their mobile phones to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The total balance in Desmond Akiefe’s bank account, which was deemed proceeds of crime, was also confiscated by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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