Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City has convicted and sentenced four internet fraudsters to prison for fraud.
The convicts are Chigbolu Kanayo (aka Brad Pitt), Udoh Godspower (aka Wang Wei), Orome Collins (aka Wang Wei), and Clifford Otsu (aka Wang David), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said in a statement on Monday.
They were arraigned on Thursday last week by the Benin Zonal Command of the EFCC for offences bordering on intent to defraud and impersonation.
“The defendants had sometime in October 2021 and February 2022 with intent to defraud impersonated foreign nationals on their respective social media platforms in the attempt to defraud them,” the statement said.
The charge against Kanayo read, “That you Chigbolu Stephen Kanayo on the 28th February, 2022 in Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did with intent to defraud represent yourself to be Brad Pitt Williams, a celebrity residing in California, USA, on Instagram platform and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 484 and punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976.”
The charge against Collins read, “That you, Orome Collins on the 23rd day of February 2022 in Benin City within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly had in your possession documents containing false pretence to wit: fraudulent/scammed pictures found in your email account: email@example.com and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 48, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976.”
Upon arraignment, the defendants pleaded guilty to their respective charges, prompting the prosecution counsel, A. Ozigbu, to ask the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
However, the defence counsel, Pascal Ugonne, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy and honour the plea bargain agreement between the parties.
Justice Ikponmwonba then convicted and sentenced Kanayo and Udoh to two years imprisonment with an option of N300,000 fine.
Otsu also bagged three years imprisonment with an option of N400,000 fine, while Collins bagged two years imprisonment with an option of N150,000 fine.
Justice Ikponmwonba also ordered that they forfeit their phones to the Federal Government of Nigeria and to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour.(Channels TV)
•PHOTO: Chigbolu Kanayo, also known as Brad Pitt