By Tambaya Julius, Abuja
The Kaduna Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has achieved a significant breakthrough with the conviction of five undergraduates from various tertiary institutions in Kaduna for internet fraud.
These individuals were involved in creating fake accounts on social media platforms to deceive and cheat innocent victims, many of whom were foreigners.
During a well-coordinated sting operation in Kaduna, the authorities apprehended Chidebere Stanley Opara (also known as Avail Hollywood), Manasseh Sefa Ephraim (aka Felicia_dannyels), Victor Odeh (aka Christopher Anderson), Chukwukere Obinna Paul (aka Shaun Lee), and Enyogu Etim Ekpo (aka Henry Wilson; JASDAV7).
These young individuals were engaged in various acts of online fraud.Chidebere Stanley Opara was charged with impersonating an American citizen named Avail Hollywood on “Google Chat,” an online social media application.
Through this impersonation, he deceitfully cheated one Duke Hardy.
The offence falls under Section 308 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017 and is punishable under Section 309 of the same Law.Similarly, Victor Oche Odeh was accused of committing cheating by impersonation.
He falsely represented himself as Christopher Anderson, a white man from Denver, Colorado, USA, on ‘Facebook,’ another online social media application, to defraud one Rhonda Evans.
His actions are in violation of Section 57 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017 and punishable under Section 309 of the same Law.
All five individuals pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them.
As a result, the prosecuting counsel, comprising E.K Garba, M. E Eimonye, and K.S Ogunlade, requested the court to convict them accordingly.
Subsequently, Justice Darius Khobo of the Kaduna State High Court handed down a verdict, sentencing each defendant to two years’ imprisonment.
In addition, they were given an option to pay a fine of N150,000 each.
The convicted undergraduates are not only facing imprisonment and fines but are also required to forfeit all proceeds of their criminal activities to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
This measure aims to deter others from engaging in similar internet-related fraud and to compensate the victims who fell prey to their deceitful schemes.
As the fight against internet fraud continues, it is essential for individuals to be vigilant and cautious while interacting on social media platforms to protect themselves from falling victim to similar scams.