Justice Chigozie Sergius Onah of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has convicted and sentenced three internet fraudsters to different jail terms for offences bordering on criminal impersonation, internet fraud and possession of fraudulent documents.
The convicts Abraham Itoro Sunday, Ezea Chidera Charles and Udoh Christopher Gabriel were jailed on Thursday, February 1, 2024 upon their arraignment by the Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on one-count separate charge bordering on cybercrimes.
The lone-count charge reads: “That you Abraham Itoro Sunday ‘ M’ sometime in 2023 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did fraudulently impersonate Brian O’ Noel on Facebook with the intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2)(b)(I) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, prevention) Act 2015 and punishable under the same section”.
They pleaded guilty to all the charges when they were read to them.
Based on their pleas, Prosecution counsels, Enobong Ubokudom and Farida Bukar thereafter prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Delivering judgment on Thursday, Justice Onah convicted and sentenced Sunday and Charles to six months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N200,000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) only, while Gabriel bagged five months jail term with an option of fine of N150,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) only. The court also ordered that the three smartphones used by the convicts to perpetrate the crimes be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The convicts started their journey to the Correctional Centre when they were arrested by operatives of the Uyo Zonal Command of the EFCC on November 22, 2023 at different locations in Afaha Atai, in Iko Eket Akwa Ibom State. Investigation showed that all the convicts impersonated foreigners by using their identities to defraud their victims. While Charles fraudulently portrayed himself as ‘Molina Urovsky’ on Facebook, Sunday portrayed himself as Brian O’niel and Gabriel presented himself as Alexander Douglas on Instagram