A State High Court in Edo State, South-south Nigeria, on Tuesday, sentenced 19 internet fraudsters to three years in prison.
The convicts, Fidelis Esajini, Nicholas Azeke, Marvelous Alakpa, Adelike Destiny and 15 others, were prosecuted by the Benin zonal command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of retention of proceeds of crime and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents.
This is contained in a statement posted on Twitter by the anti-graft agency.
One of the convicts, Fidelis Esajini, in May 2023, defrauded a United States of America citizen identified as Lisa, an offence punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976.
“Upon arraignment, all the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges prompting the prosecution counsel, F.A.Jirbo, I.M Elodi, Saliu Ahmed, A.A.Ibrahim and A.S. Balariba, prayed to the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
“However, counsel to the defendants pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders who had turned a new leaf.
“Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Esajini, Destiny, Osarenmwinda, Gbenga, Iyekeoretin, Nowamagbe, Ewomaoghene and Okoliko to three years imprisonment with an option of two Hundred thousand Naira as fine,” the anti-graft agency said
Cases of internet fraudsters, popularly called “Yahoo boys”, haveincreasede in the state, with at least 41 convictions recorded within the last three months.
The anti-graft agency last month reported how a High Court in the state jailed six internet fraudsters for illegal possession of fraudulent documents and intent to defraud.
Still, in May, the EFCC had reported how a High Court in the state convicted four internet fraudsters on similar offences.
The commission in March reported how Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of Edo State High Court in Benin City convicted 12 internet fraudsters.
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