A Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Monday, sentenced an internet fraudster, Mbang Uba, to one-year imprisonment over a $300 scam.
The judge, Maureen Onyetenu, however, gave the convicted fraudster an option to pay N500,000 fine, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which prosecuted the case.
With one dollar trading at N1,000, the fine translates to $500.
Mr Uba had, sometime this year, presented himself as Sophia Johnson on Facebook to scam a man identified as Bernie Smith of US $300. He was arrested and charged with criminal impersonation and obtaining by false pretences, the EFCC said in the statement.
He committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (b) (iv) of the same Act.
He pleaded guilty to the charges. His lawyer, Innocent Eze, pleaded for leniency.
The EFCC said Mr Uba was arrested on 6 June in Calabar, Cross River State, for online criminal activities, and that investigations had revealed that he specialised in impersonating foreign nationals and using social media to defraud his unsuspecting victims.
The prosecuting counsel, Victor Ukagwu, had tendered Mr Uba’s statements, his iPhone X and all the incriminating documents printed from his phone, which the court admitted in evidence.
The EFCC has been clamping down on internet fraudsters in Nigeria.
The commission recently handed over a three-bedroom semi-detached duplex in Edo State, South-south Nigeria, to an American named Cheryldene Cook, who was scammed by a Nigerian, Aisosa Ohue.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999