The Uyo zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, secured the conviction of 10 internet fraudsters brought before Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State.
The convicts are: Abasiama Essien Ekopimoh (aka Foster Scolt), Gabriel David, Ogon Godspower, Etim Stephen, Kolade Shobayo Jonathan and Raphael Bassey.
Others are: Ahmed Adelakun, Mbang Prince Peter, Nnamdi Ogana, and Edafe Matthew.
They were arrested on March 11, 2020, at various locations in Calabar, Cross River State.
During questioning, the convicts confessed that they specialized in sourcing for their victims on Facebook and Instagram under the false pretence that they were United States military personnel on foreign mission, who had difficulty accessing their funds. They then make their victims give them gift cards which they change to Bitcoin and eventually to Naira.
They were each arraigned on separate one-count charge to which they pleaded “guilty”.
The prosecuting counsels, Usman Shehu and Adebayo Soares then prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Thus, Justice Amobeda convicted and sentenced Etim, Jonathan and Bassey to 12 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N1,500,000.00 each, while Godspower and Edafe were sentenced to six months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N50,000.00 each.
Adelakun was sentenced to six months imprisonment with an option of fine of N700,000.00, while David got six months imprisonment with an option of fine of N100,000.00.
Ogana, Mbang and Ekopimoh all got 12 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N700,000.00, N100,000.00 and N500,000.00 respectively.
The court also ordered that their prison sentence will count from the date of their arrest.
One of the separate counts reads: “That you, Abasiama Essien Ekopimoh (alias Foster Scolt) on or about the 11th day of March 2020 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself, fraudulently impersonated and presented yourself as Foster Scolt (a citizen of Germany) to Wendy Carter on a social media platform (Facebook) and obtained redeemable steam cards worth three hundred dollars ($300) which you redeemed and converted to cash and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (a) & (b) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) (iv) of the same Act.”