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Ebonyi Judge Sentences 24 Internet Fraudsters to Jail, Community Service

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The Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction and sentencing of 24 internet fraudsters at the Federal High Court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

The sentencing was handed down by Justice H. I. O. Oshomah.

The convicted individuals included Chidiebere Franklin Anozie, Odo Nelson, Osunkwo Chibuike Stanley, Nwaibo Emmanuel Ogbaga, Obinna Ohazurume Bethel, Ugochukwu Daniel Emeziem, Timothy Chimobi Ngwuezumba, Victor Ebuka Nwaogu, Chimaobi Valentine Ugoji, Eke Emmanuel Udochukwu, Chimere Godson Ojinnaka, David Nwachukwu, and Emmanuel Chinemerem Agbaraji.

Others convicted were Ayoka Promise Mmesoma, Philip Ikechukwu Izuogu, Precious Chinemerem Nwogu, Stanley Chibueze Nwachukwu, Kelly Nwankwo, Anthony Chidozie Uwadiegwu, Udeagha Kenneth Chinedu, Kelechi Charles Omoha, Ibina Solomon Chisom, Victor Abonu, and Ikenna Daniel.

The fraudsters were convicted after pleading guilty to individual charges of fraudulent impersonation and obtaining by false pretences.

One such charge read against Osunkwo Chibuike Stanley detailed how he impersonated Dahunsi Esther, a female foreigner from the United Kingdom, using a fake Facebook account in an attempt to defraud unsuspecting victims.

This act was found to be in violation of Section 22 (3) (a) (b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015, punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.

Upon hearing the guilty pleas, prosecuting counsel Chikezie Raymond Edozie urged the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.

Defense counsel E. J. Nwatarali requested leniency, arguing that the convicts were remorseful and had learned their lessons.

After considering both sides, Justice Oshomah sentenced each convict to two years imprisonment with an option of a N150,000 fine.

Additionally, each convict was ordered to complete six months of community service.

The judge also directed that mobile phones recovered from the convicts be auctioned, with the proceeds to be deposited into the Treasury Single Account of the Federation.

The sentencing marks the conclusion of a rigorous prosecution process by the EFCC, aimed at curbing internet-related crimes in the region.

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