© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
EFCC nabs suspected swindler over $12,000 romance scam
ON Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office arraigned Aretuemhen Frank before the Port Harcourt’s Federal High Court on charges bordering on false pretences, impersonation and possession of scam documents.
Justice M. L Abubakar, the presiding judge obliged to the request of the counsels to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to adjourn the case to July 3, 2019, for the prosecuting team to have time to examine the available evidence.
Frank was alleged to have defrauded an American lady, Thorman Benson whom he promised to marry at the sum of $12, 000 in a series of online dating deals using false pretence contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1, subsection (3) of the same Act.
Using a couple of aliases which includes William Rodgers and Max Allen posing as an American with the United States Army, had succeeded in defrauding several people.
Operatives of the EFCC, acting on intelligence reports had raided his hideout where he was arrested, recovering an iPhone 6s plus during the operation.
One of the four – count charges slammed against him reads as follows, ” That you Aretuemhen Frank, on or about December 2018, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently impersonated one Max Allen, a United States of America soldier, with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (3) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.”
Frank pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge preferred against him.
Despite, Frank’s plea, prosecuting counsel, Samuel Chime applied for a trial date to open his case, while the defence counsel, P.O Nworah, asked the court of an application for bail for his client.
Justice Abubakar granted the applicant bail in the sum of N1 million and one surety in like sum who must be a civil servant residing within the jurisdiction of the court. While he directed that the applicant be remanded him in EFCC’s custody pending the time he fulfils his bail condition.