An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday sentenced an unemployed man, Lawal Sholaru to six months imprisonment for defrauding an American, Mr David Geobel, of $1,200 in an online scam.
Justice Mojisola Dada who handed down the judgment however gave the convict an option of N100,000 fine for defrauding Geobel.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on March 18 charged the convict for a lone charge of obtaining money by false pretences.
The convict, Sholaru, pleaded guilty and was convicted as charged by the court.
The court thereafter adjourned for facts and sentencing while he was remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional center.
Judgment in the matter was however delayed due to the lockdown arising from the ravaging Coronavirus Pandemic.
Delivering the judgment online during a virtual proceeding yesterday, Justice Dada noted that the convict did not waste the time of the court and had been remorseful.
“The timeous plea of guilty of the defendant is very impressive and commendable, he has exhibited great remorse for his action.
“He has also unwittingly spent about two months in custody. In the interest of justice, the defendant is hereby sentenced to six months imprisonment”, she said.
Justice Dada said the sentence will commence from March 18, 2020 when he was first remanded in custody.
Justice Dada also ordered that the convict shall forfeit his vehicle and any other property recovered from him by the EFCC as proceeds of crime to the federal government.
“He shall undertake to be of good behaviour and never to be involved in any other crime. This is the judgment of the court,” she said further said.
Following the judgment, the defence counsel Mr Kunle Aina, thanked the court.
Earlier during the proceedings, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Samuel Daji gave a brief summary of the facts of the case.
Daji told the court following am intelligence report received by the commission, the convict was arrested on March 8, 2020 at Lakers Club, Ikorodu, Lagos on suspicion of engaging in internet fraud.
He said the convict made a confessional statement in which he admitted that he defrauded a US citizen, one Mr David Geobel to the tune of $1,200.
“He also admitted to representing himself as one Alicia White.
“Further investigations were carried out on the defendants email address and fraudulent documents where the defendant represented himself as an American General were uncovered,” he said.
The EFCC prosecutor, during trial, tendered to the court the defendant’s confessional statements dated March 8 and 11 as well as the alleged fraudulent documents found in Sholaru’s possession.
He said the documents were admitted as exhibits.
“Investigations revealed that the defendant had no other source of livelihood other than internet fraud and his car was bought from the proceeds of crime,” Daji added.