By Adebisi Onanuga
An Ikeja Special Offenses Court on Wednesday sentenced an unemployed man, Lawal Sholaru, to six months in prison for defrauding an American, David Geobel, for $ 1,200 in an online fraud.
Judge Mojisola Dada, who handed down the sentence, gave the convict the option of a fine of N100,000 for defrauding Geobel.
On March 18, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused the convict on a solitary charge of obtaining money on false pretenses.
The convict, Sholaru, pleaded guilty and was found guilty by the court.
The court subsequently suspended the facts and the sentence while he was in remand at the maximum correctional center in Kirikiri.
However, the trial was postponed due to the blockade resulting from the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
In pronouncing the sentence online during a virtual case yesterday, Judge Dada noted that the convict did not waste time in the court and was sorry.
“The defendant's plea for guilty is very impressive and commendable, he showed great remorse for his action.
“He also unconsciously spent about two months in custody. In the interests of justice, the defendant is sentenced to six months in prison, ”he said.
Judge Dada said the sentence will begin on March 18, 2020, when he was first arrested.
Judge Dada also ordered the convict to lose his vehicle and any other property recovered from him by the EFCC as a product of the crime for the federal government.
“He will commit to good behavior and never to be involved in any other crime. This is the court's judgment, ”she said later.
After the trial, defense lawyer Kunle Aina thanked the court.
Early in the process, EFCC prosecutor Samuel Daji gave a brief summary of the facts of the case.
Daji told the court after an intelligence report received by the commission, the convict was arrested on March 8, 2020 at the Lakers Club, Ikorodu, Lagos on suspicion of involvement in Internet fraud.
He said the convict made a confessional statement in which he admitted to having cheated an American citizen, David Geobel, in the amount of $ 1,200.
“He also admitted to representing himself as Alicia White.
"Further investigations were carried out on the defendants' e-mail address and fraudulent documents in which the defendant represented himself as an American general was discovered," he said.
The EFCC prosecutor, during the trial, presented the defendant's confessional statements dated March 8 and 11, as well as the alleged fraudulent documents found in Sholaru's possession.
He said the documents were admitted as exhibitions.
"The investigations revealed that the defendant had no other source of livelihood than Internet fraud and his car was purchased with the proceeds of the crime," added Daji.