Justice Adebayo Yusuf of Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin, yesterday, jailed 30-year-old Yusuf Olarewaju, a native of Erin-Ile in Oyun Local Council of the state for offences bordering on internet fraud.
Olarewaju, found guilty of one-count charge brought against him by Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was sentenced to six months imprisonment with option of N200,000 fine.
The court also ordered the forfeiture of all instruments used by the convict to perpetuate the crime, including the cash found to be proceeds of crime in his account to the Federal Government.
Other items forfeited include: a Mercedes Benz GLK 2010 model, a Toyota Camry 2013 model; a Toyota Corolla 2005 model, iPhone 14 promax and the sum of N24, 364,860.
Olarewaju’s journey to jail started on October 23, 2022, when he was arrested following intelligence about the activities of syndicates of fraudsters operating in Erin-Ile and its neighbourhood.
Investigation revealed that Olarewaju, while using a fraudulent email, firstname.lastname@example.org posed as one Smith Katie, a white female from Missouri, USA, to strike relationships with one James Gibson (Jimmy) and Stephen Speer, both of whom he swindled to the tune of $30,000 USD between 2021 and 2022.
The defendant not only confessed to the crime, but also pleaded guilty when he was arraigned on November 11, 2022. At the resumed sitting of the case on Monday, Justice Yusuf said he had carefully evaluated the facts of the case; the guilty plea entered by the defendant; the extra-judicial statement of the defendant as well as the exhibits tendered in evidence and was convinced that there were justifiable reasons to convict the defendant.
Consequently, the judge pronounced him guilty.
In his plea of allocutus, Olarewaju’s counsel, M. A Bello urged the court to temper justice with mercy. He said that the convict had left “yahoo business” since January 2022, and that the cars recovered from him were intended to start up a car business.
However, Innocent Mbachie, counsel to the EFCC, urged the court to, in addition to sentencing the convict, order the forfeiture of all the instrumentality of the crime, including the cars, cash and phone to the Federal Government as deterrent to others of Olarewaju’s like.
Justice Yusuf, while sentencing the convict, said he found merit in the prosecution’s case, adding that the defence’s plea that, “the convict had left “yahoo business” since January 2022, and that the cars recovered from him were intended to start up car business” were not sufficient to set him free of the deserved punishment.