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Court convicts 13 Edo internet fraudsters, orders forfeiture of valuables

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A State High Court in Benin, Edo State, presided by Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, has ordered 13 internet fraudsters in Edo to forfeit valuables recovered from them to the Federal Government.

The convicts, including Eboh Chukwuma, Onyeukwu Emmanuel Onyeka, Ebuka Osita Odukwe, Omozuafo Collins, Elect Osayuwu, Omorogbe Christian, Odiete Timothy, Odede Enitome Patrick, Benjamin Kennedy Ese, Ayodele Eugene, Eric Onwusiwekwu, Bolum Ogechukwu, and Courage Sule, all pleaded guilty to the charges.

The charges they pleaded guilty to include possession of proceeds of crime and unlawful possession of fraudulent documents, upon their arraignment by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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The charge against one of the fraudsters, Ebuka Osita Odukwe reads: “that you Ebuka Osita Odukwe sometimes between 2022 and 2023 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did take possession of the aggregate sum of N8,908,831.00 knowing that same represents proceeds of your criminal conduct to wit: cybercrime and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(1)(a) and punishable under Section 18 (2), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.”

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After pleading guilty, the prosecution counsels prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

However, counsels to the defendants asked the court to show mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders who had been remorseful.

The judge convicted and sentenced some of the convicts to three years imprisonment with an option of a fine of N200,000, and others to two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000.

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The judge also ordered the forfeiture of their assets, including a black Toyota Camry 2014 model, an HP laptop, mobile phones, money in their bank accounts, a washing machine, a Playstation 4 console, three pairs of shoes, and five mobile phones to the Federal Government through the EFCC.

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