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Court sentences student to prison, hard labour over dating fraud

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A Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos, has sentenced one Festus Ojomola, a student of the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, to one year imprisonment with hard labour, for engaging in internet fraud and dating scam, as well as being in possession of fraudulent documents.

According to Tony Orilade, spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ojomala was arrested in September 2018, by the Lagos Zonal Office of the commission, following intelligence reports.

After investigations, the suspect was arraigned in February 2019 before Justice Mojisola Dada, on a two-count charge of impersonation and fraud, to which he pleaded guilty.

The first count read: “That you, Festus Olaoluwa Ojomola (a.k.a Lizzy Miller), on or about the 29th June, 2018, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, had in your possession hang-out chats wherein you presented yourself as Lizzy Miller to David Waters, a representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 318 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.”

The second count reads: “that you, Festus Olaoluwa Ojomola (a.k.a Lizzy Miller), on or about the 29th June, 2018 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, had in your possession hang-out chats, wherein you represented yourself as Lizzy Miller to Joe Badess, a representation you knew to be false and committed an offence contrary to Section 318 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.”

Counsel to the EFCC, G. C. Akaogu, told the court that operatives of the commission received intelligence report sometime in May 2018, on the activities of some persons involved in internet scam.

“The operatives of the Commission swung into action and arrested the defendant with electronic devices such as a laptop, an apple macbook and an Iphone,” Akaogu was quoted as telling the court.

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“The devices were analysed and documents containing false pretences were found in them. When he was confronted with the documents, he admitted to be involved in dating scam.”

Akaogu also tendered before the court a certified true copy of the intelligence report dated May 7, 2018, as well as confessional statements obtained from the defendant dated June 29, 2018.

He also tendered in evidence the electronic devices and hordes of scanned documents retrieved from the defendant and urged the court to order a forfeiture of the devices to the Federal Government and convict the defendant.

However, counsel to the accused person, Eze Ugboaja, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing her client, considering the fact that he is a young man of 20 years and a 200-level student of Environmental Management and Toxicology.

Ugboaja also told the court that the accused person’s mother is a widow and a petty trader who is finding it difficult raising her children.

After listening to the arguments, Justice Dada declared Ojomala guilty of the two-count charge brought against him and sentenced him to one year imprisonment, which commenced from his time of arrest on September 3, 2018, with an option of N200,000 and a community service of grass cutting in front of the court premises.

The convict will also forfeit the devices retrieved from him to the Federal Government.

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