The two convicts were both arraigned at the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on September 9, 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal office on one count separate charge. Ifeanyi’s offence bordered on obtaining under false pretence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act, while Onyebuchi ‘s offence bordered on retention and possession of proceeds of crime contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition ) Act.
The one- count charge read:
“That you Onyeka Ifeanyi Johnson a.k.a (Chewning Roger) on or about the 3rd of August, 2018, at Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honorable court with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of ($900.00) Nine Hundred US Dollars through Western Union, under false pretence from one Kathleen Street, a US national, a pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
“That you Andrew Onyebuchi Okwuoha on or about the 5th day of April, 2019 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did acquire, retain and took possession or control of the sum of Two Thousand, One Hundred United States Dollars fraudulently transferred from the Bank of America account of one Tina Sakalarkis knowingly or reasonably ought to have known that the said sum forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition ) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
The defendants pleaded guilty to the one- count charge when read to them.
In view of their plea, prosecution counsel, M.T. Iko prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly. Defense counsels: K.C. Orjiako and Agumagu C. Agumagu did not oppose the prayer of the prosecution counsel.
Justice J.K. Omotosho thereafter convicted and sentenced Ifeanyi to one year imprisonment with an option of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N 500,000.00) commencing from the date of arrest while Onyebuchi was convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment without an option of fine.
The Judge ordered that the monies fraudulently made be restituted to the victims. He also ordered that the Iphone X, HP Pavilion laptop which was recovered at the point of arrest be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Johnson’s journey to prison started when operatives of the EFCC raided his apartment at No. 5, Emmanuel Avenue, off Sekibo Road, Odili road, Port Harcourt sometimes in August 2019 after a tip- off. Investigations revealed that the convict is a notorious fraudster who has been defrauding unsuspecting foreigners through online dating scam and business e-mail compromise. As for Okwuoha, his ordeal started when he retained the sum of Two Thousand One Hundred US Dollars ($2,100.00), fraudulently transferred from the Bank of America’s account of one Tina Sakerlarkis, an American into his own account, without any lawful transaction between them.