Two fraudsters, Tobechukwu Igbokwe (Alias David Prince)and his accomplice Ifeanyi Obi, who are alleged to have duped an America of $40million are to remain in prison until December 3, when Justice Lawal Akapo of the Lagos State High, Ikeja will open trial in their case.
Justice Akapo had on Monday October 28 remanded the duo in prison custody after they were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on a 12- count charge bordering on forgery, conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences contrary to section 8(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No 14 of 2006.
Specifically, Mr. Igbokwe, a 19 year-old secondary school leaver, was alleged to have duped his victims, many of them foreigners, of huge amount of money through the internet, under fraudulent guises. He allegedly worked in concert with Mr. Obi to dupe an American, Micheal Silva, of $40 million in an inheritance scam. Mr. Silva was made to believe that Mr. Igbokwe and his accomplice had a huge inheritance which they wanted to move to a foreign account for safekeeping.
The victim was asked to send money to “process” the transfer and in the process, he wired $40m in several installments through Western Union Transfer to Messrs Igbokwe and Obi.
Mr. Igbokwe also confessed that he had duped other foreigners among them a Tommy Bedwell- who lost $6,000 to him and Richard Hunt-$15,000.
One of the charges against Messrs Igbokwe and Obi reads: “Tobechukwu Igbokwe (alias David Prince) (alias John Emma) sometimes in the month of October 2011 at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division with intent to defraud obtained $800 (Eight Hundreds Dollars),$700(Seven Hundred Dollars), $200(Two Hundred Dollars) $400(Four Hundred Dollars), $200(Two Hundred Dollars), $300(Three Hundred Dollars), $500(Five Hundred Dollars), $500(Five Hundered Dollars) $500(Five Hundred Dollars) $200(Two Hundred Dollars); totalling $5,500 (Five Thousand Five Hundred Dollars) which sum you obtained separately from Michael Silva of the United States of America under false pretence that the money represent part payment for processing inheritance funds due to him as a beneficiary of the fund and which pretence you knew was false”.
When the charges were read to them, the defendants pleaded not guilty.
EFCC counsel, Fadeke Giwa, prayed the court for a trial date and to remanded the accused persons in prison custody.
However, counsel to the first defendant, D. A Omougbai asked for a short date to file his bail application. Also, counsel to the second defendant, D. A Eimuejel prayed the court to accept the bail application he filed on behalf of his client.
Justice Akapo, however, adjourned the matter till December 3, 2013 and ordered that the defendants be remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos.
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