A Lagos High Court on Wednesday convicted 19-year old Tobechukwu Igbokwe and sentenced him to 37 years imprisonment for defrauding an American of $40m in an inheritance scam.
David Prince, as he is popularly called, and his accomplice, Ifeanyi Obi, tricked M. Silva into believing that they had a huge inheritance, which they wanted to move to a foreign account for safekeeping and asked him to send money to process the transfer.
Silva then sent him the sum of $40m through Western Union.
Igbokwe was arraigned on a 12 counts charge bordering on forgery, conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences.
He was then sentenced to seven years on counts 1-8; eight years on count 9; seven years on count 10, eight years on count 11 and seven years on count 12, making a cumulative of 37 years imprisonment after being found guilty on all counts by Justice Akapo.
The sentence is to run concurrently with effect from October 28, 2013, which was when he was first arraigned. The court also ordered Igbokwe to return the $40m as restitution to the victim and forfeit a Toyota Corolla, which he used part of the money to buy.
Igbokwe was first arraigned on 28 October 2013. He pleaded not guilty to the 12-count charge pressed against him. He later changed his plea to “guilty” and was convicted by Justice Akapo. He also confessed to having duped other foreigners, including but not restricted to T. Bedwell, whom he duped the sum of $6,000 and R. Hunt, $15,000.
Similarly, a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, had in January convicted and sentenced a 25-year old Nigerian student Hope Olusegun Aroke, to 24 years imprisonment over N25 million Internet scam.
Aroke, who was an undergraduate of Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University, Malaysia, was arraigned before Justice Okunnu on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence; cheque cloning, wire transfer and forgery.
The court found him guilty of the two charges and sentenced him to twelve years imprisonment on each of the two counts. The sentences are to run concurrently.
An anonymous petitioner had written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleging that the Kogi State-born undergraduate was involved in sundry fraudulent activities on the Internet.
The EFCC swung into action and found out after investigations that he was involved in several romance scam that fetched him a total sum of 4,000 riyadh (Malaysian currency).
He also admitted sending the money to Nigeria through one Angela, who later helped him deposit its naira equivalent, N25 million, in a new generation bank.