Couple bag 40-year jail over N53m fraud

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A Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan Monday sentenced a couple to 40 years imprisonment over N53 million fraud.

The couple, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick and wife, Tinuola Idayat Oyegunle, were found guilty by Justice Joyce Abdulmalik on all the four counts charge against them.

They were arraigned on four counts of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence brought against them by the Ibadan zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The prosecutor stated that the couple, in a classic advance fee fraud scheme, fleeced one Dunni Olateru Olagbegi of N53, 713, 260.00 in cash and bank transfer through a spiritual cleansing gambit in order to avoid calamitous consequence of mysterious sudden death having heard conversation by a syndicate about a Ghana- Must –Go bag stuffed with United States Dollar bills in the boot of a car.

She was also tricked into bringing funds to cleanse supposed USD bills.

It stressed that the victim had sometimes in May 2013, boarded a taxi cab with three other passengers who, unknown to her, were members of a syndicate of fraudsters and that as soon as she entered the vehicle, she heard the three other supposed passengers arguing about a Ghana-Must-Go bag filled with US dollars in the boot of the car.

In the course of investigation, it was discovered that over N9million was paid into the second defendant, Oyegunle’s account domicile in one of the third generation banks, apart from other funds traced to the first defendant, Ebiesuwa Abayomi Fredrick’s account and that the first defendant built Victoria East Park Hotel & Suite located at Igbogbo, Ikorodu, Lagos state from the proceeds of the crime.

Justice Abdulmalik in his judgement found the couple guilty of the four-count charge and sentenced both of them to 10 years imprisonment on each of the four counts. However, while Ebiesuwa’s prison term takes effect from June 19, 2017 when he was arrested, Tinuola’s time in the Custodial Centre will start counting from May 26, 2017 when she was arrested.

The Judge also ordered that Victoria East Park Hotel & Suite, “be sold and the proceed, if not up to N53, 713, 260.00 be returned to the victim in the case and if it exceeds, the balance be paid into the federal government’s account.”

The sentences are to run concurrently.

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