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Internet fraud suspect wanted by FBI, sentenced to one year imprisonment in Ilorin

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ON Thursday, the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin convicted and sentenced Joseph Oyediran, to one year in imprisonment on a five-count charge bordering on internet fraud, relying on evidence presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. 

Oyediran was declared wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI, of the United States of America, USA, also on charges for internet fraud

The EFCC had arraigned Oyediran who initially pleaded not guilty but rescinded his decision after approaching the prosecution team for a plea bargain.

Following the plea bargain agreement, the prosecuting team amended the charge. The presiding judge  Justice Mahmood Abdulgafar had the charge read before him.

The one-count amended charge reads, “That you, Joseph Oyediran (alias  Joe M.G. Graves) between April 2015 to June 2015, in Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did cheat by personation when you pretended to be one Joe M.G. Graves, a white male with Gmail account [email protected], and fraudulently deceived one, Andrea Smith, an American citizen to send N2,392, 105.00 (Two million,  three hundred and ninety-two thousand,  one hundred and five Naira) after you made her believe you were in love with her and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 321 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 324of the same Penal Code.”

He pleaded guilty to the amended one-count charge.

The prosecution requested the Head of Advance Fee Fraud Section of the EFCC, Ilorin Zonal Office,  Olamide Sadiq as a witness, who gave an account of investigations carried out by his team in the matter.

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“My lord on the 24th of July 2019, the Commission received a petition from the Federal Bureau of Investigations against the defendant. The FBI alleged that Oyediran was involved in business email compromise, romance scam and other fraud-related offences. Based on investigations,  the suspect was arrested and he confessed to the crime,” Sadiq told the court.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Abdulgafar admitted the testimonies of the prosecution witness, the plea of the defendant and documents presented and confirmed the prosecution was able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The convict is hereby sentenced to one-year imprisonment while his one plot of land, located at Wara, behind Ilorin West Local Government Secretariat and the sum of N800,000 (Eight Hundred Thousand Naira) recovered from him should be forfeited to the federal government,” he ruled.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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