The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction of four internet fraudsters.
According to a statement by the EFCC spokesperson, Tony Orilade, the convicts were re-arraigned on a one-count amended charge of criminal impersonation,
It said the offence is contrary to Section 22 (2)(b) (iv) of the Cyber Crime Prohibition Prevention Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Act.
The convicts were all sentenced to four months imprisonment.
Three of the convicts were tried at the Federal High Court, Abeokuta Division.
They are Alimi Oluwadamilare, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC); Paul Omotunde, a fresh graduate from the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), and Odianosen Igberase.
Justice Mohammed Abubakar of Court 2 jailed Mr Igberase for four months while Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, sentenced Okunoye James, 24-year-old (a.k.a. James Kosta), to four months in prison on a one-count charge for cyber crimes.
The EFCC said Mr Okuneye was arrested for Internet-related offences on April 11 by officers of the Nigeria police who later handed him over to the Ibadan zonal office of the EFCC for further investigation.
He eventually pleaded guilty to the one-count charge of criminal impersonation preferred against him on Thursday. He was accordingly convicted and sentenced by the presiding judge.
The court also ordered the convict to make restitution of the sum of N889,995 being benefit he derived from his fraudulent act.
He is similarly to forfeit one iPhone 7, and one Huawei handset to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
According to the statement, the arraignments followed plea bargain arrangements between the convicts and the EFCC which reduced the number of charges in the initial charge sheets to one.
The anti-graft agency also said its investigations revealed that the convicts illegally hacked into people’s accounts to gain unrestricted access to vital and sensitive information, and convert the same to fraudulent use.
”Besides sending them to jail, the presiding judges also ordered that they refund sums of money in United States dollars to their respective victims as restitution.
”All items recovered from them during their interrogation are equally to be forfeited to the Federal Government.