The Lagos court found the agent guilty of all charges.
An Ikeja High Court on Monday sentenced an estate agent, Michael Olabameji, to 15 years imprisonment for defrauding 100 accommodation seekers of N29.8 million.
Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo convicted Mr. Olabameji, 42, of the 99-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Onigbanjo sentenced the convict to 15 years imprisonment on each count, which is to run concurrently beginning from February 1, 2010, when he was remanded in prison.
The judge said: “the convict inflicted untold hardships on the victims and callously deprived them of their hard-earned money with a false promise of accommodation.
“It is immaterial that he had the mind to refund the money to the victims as he had claimed in his confessional statement to the EFCC.”
He said the property which was used by the convict to perpetuate the fraud was actually owned by another person who had leased it to him from 2010 till 2025.
Mr. Onigbanjo said the 16-apartment building, located at No. 2, Amuda St., Kirikiri, Lagos, should therefore be managed by the EFCC till the expiration of the lease.
According to him, the proceeds recovered from the rent are to be paid to the victims as restitution.
The EFCC Prosecutor, Bunmi Bosede, had told the court that Mr. Olabameji committed the offences between January and July 2008.
She said he had collected various sums of money from victims as tenancy and agreement fees.
Joseph Igwe, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria on behalf of the victims, applauded the judgment.
Mr. Igwe said that they had suffered both financial and psychological hardship as a result of Olabameji’s actions.