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Internet Fraudster Sentenced To 600hrs Community Service

MARGARET CHIDERA

A Lagos Federal High Court has convicted and sentenced an internet fraudster, James Victory Eshiobonameh, to 600 hours community service.

Justice Abimbola Awogboro passed the verdict after the convict pleaded guilty to a count charge made against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), coupled with the review of the facts of the charge by  Buluebre karamor, an investigator with the Commission.

The convict, also known as James Victory and Pablo, was alleged to have impersonated one James Victory, bearing the same on his Instagram profile and using it to defraud unsuspecting service providers.

The offence, according to the prosecutor, Mrs. Bilikisu Buhari-Bala, contravened Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2019 and punishable under the same Act.

The convict pleaded guilty to the charge.

After the convict’s guilty plea, the investigator, karamor, was called to testify for the review of the charge.

In reviewing the facts of the charge, the investigator told the court that the convict was arrested at an award ceremony organiseded by some fraudsters, who were celebrating their successful operations.

She said that upon arresting the convict, during interrogation, he admitted to being a member of an internet fraud group. He said he created  a fraudulent Facebook account to perpetrate the will deeds.

The investigator also told the court how the Convict joined a website called aus.com, a website which provides services for families around the world. And how he posed as an old man that lives in Texas (USA) and needed assistance.

The EFCC investigator further told the court that  when the convict’s Iphone 9 was analysed, his son was with an America number +1 8573084630, which he used in registering with aus.com, to contact his unsuspecting service providers, to further buttress his claims that he lived in Texas (USA).

Upon conclusion of the investigator’s evidence, the Convict’s iPhone 9, extra judicial statement and some documents extracted from the phone were tendered and admitted by the court. While the prosecutor, Mrs. Buhari-Bala, urged the court to sentence him in accordance with Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2019.

But his counsel, O. Amubikaun, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client, as he was a first time offender.

Amubikaun told the court that the convict had been remorseful since he was detained last November and that he had learnt from his mistake in a hard way.

Justice Awogboro, after listening to the counsel’s submissions, sentenced the convict to 600 hours community service.

Justice Awogboro also ordered the convict to file an affidavit of good behaviour before he could be released. While also ordered that the iPhone 9 recovered from him be confiscated by the Federal Government, if there was no appeal against the judgment within the period stipulated by law.

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