The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Uyo Zonal Command, has achieved a significant milestone with the conviction of eight individuals involved in internet fraud. This development was communicated through a statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on a recent Saturday.

According to Oyewale, Justice Rosemary Oghoghorie of the Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State, presided over the cases and delivered convictions on charges related to criminal impersonation, identity theft, and obtaining money under false pretenses. The convicted individuals were prosecuted separately and faced allegations concerning their roles in online scams.

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Among those found guilty are Abasiofon Daniel Essien, also known as Jason Momoa, Gideon Junior, Edikan Ubong, Harrison Chiemelie, Ndifereke Umoh, Christopher Promise, Effiong Wisdom, and Godswill Nsikan. Each defendant faced charges specifying their involvement in various fraudulent activities, including the unlawful possession of funds obtained through deceit.

For instance, Abasiofon Daniel Essien, alias Jason Momoa, was implicated in unlawfully possessing $300, which was identified as proceeds from identity theft. Similarly, Effiong Wisdom, operating under the alias Pamela Randy, fraudulently obtained $170 by misrepresenting himself online.

During the court proceedings, all defendants admitted guilt after the charges were read to them. The prosecution, represented by counsel Khamis Mahmud, presented compelling evidence including the defendants’ confessional statements and incriminating contents from their mobile phones.

Following the convictions, Justice Oghoghorie handed down sentences of two years imprisonment for each individual. Additionally, certain defendants were offered the alternative of paying fines: Umoh, Promise, Chiemelie, and Nsikan faced fines of N2 million each, while Junior, Essien, and Ubong were given the option to pay N1.5 million each. Wisdom was given a fine option of N1 million.

Moreover, as part of the restitution process, Essien, Junior, Ubong, and Chiemelie were ordered to reimburse their victims amounts ranging from $100 to $300, alongside specific sums in Nigerian currency. Umoh, Promise, Wisdom, and Nsikan were also directed to repay varying amounts to their respective victims.

Furthermore, the court ordered the forfeiture of the defendants’ mobile phones, acknowledging them as instruments used to perpetrate their fraudulent activities, and ruled that they be surrendered to the government.

This outcome underscores EFCC’s commitment to combating cybercrime and ensuring justice for victims of online fraud. It serves as a deterrent to others involved in similar illicit activities, emphasizing the legal consequences and penalties associated with financial crimes in Nigeria.