Nigerian fraudster, Woodberry jailed 8 years in US

A NIGERIAN fraudster, Olalekan Jacob Ponle, popularly known as Mr Woodberry, has been handed an 8-year and 3-month prison sentence by a judge in the United States (US).

Woodberry is an associate of popular Nigerian Internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, who is currently serving a prison sentence in the US following his conviction for fraud.

On Tuesday, July 11, Robert Gentleman, judge of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, handed down a sentence to Woodberry for his involvement in orchestrating a fraudulent scheme worth millions of dollars.

“The defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a total term of 100 months as to count,” the judge said.

Woodberry reached a plea bargain in April, resulting in the dismissal of seven counts against him as reported by The ICIR. However, he was ultimately convicted on one count.

The offender is required to surrender to the US Marshal Service for transportation to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. During his incarceration, his family members, particularly his American fiancée, will be granted visitation privileges.

Furthermore, the judge mandated his deportation to Nigeria upon completion of his prison term.

“Mr Ponle will also be surrendered to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for deportation immediately following his incarceration”, the judge ordered.

In addition, the court has determined that he has the means to make the full payment of approximately $8 million in restitution to seven victims. However, all interests associated with the restitution amount has been waived off.

As reported by the People’s Gazette, on Thursday, June 29, American prosecutors urged the judge to impose a 14-year prison sentence on Woodberry for his involvement in fraud activities spanning from January to September 2019.



    Upon their discovery that Woodberry possessed 152 bitcoins, the prosecutors sought the court’s permission to sell off the assets. Subsequently, a public notice was issued, providing a 30-day period for individuals with legitimate claims to come forward. However, at the time of his sentencing, no individual with valid interest in the assets came forward.

    As part of the forfeiture, he will give up various items currently held by the Dubai Police, including a Rolls Royce, Lamborghini Urus, Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG G55, four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch and three Audemars Piguet watches.

    Additionally, he is obligated to surrender three gold and diamond-studded rings, five gold bracelets, two gold bracelet keys, six gold neck chains, one gold and diamond-studded necklace, one small gold nugget, two bank cards, approximately $1,835 in Emirati dirhams and around $15.45 in South African rands.

    Woodberry was popular for showcasing a lavish lifestyle on social media, alongside his associate, Hushpuppi. Both individuals were apprehended on June 10, 2020.

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