Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, convicted Alaba Kareem Adeyeri, and her son, Damilola, on a four-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of $82,570.
The charges were preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The convicts were arrested, following a petition from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States, against Damilola and others now at large, on an alleged case of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence, money laundering and computer-related fraud.
The EFCC said after it receiver the petition, it discovered that his mother was an accomplice in the crime.
Idi Musa, the anti-graft agency official, while being led in evidence, narrated to the court that the commission received a petition in April 2019, from the FBI, alleging that the official email address of American Cranes Manufacturing Company was hacked and a sum of $82, 570. 00 was stolen by the fraudsters.
He told the court that the petitioner reported that there was a syndicate of fraudsters, who defrauded many companies through business mail compromise and obtained millions of dollars from American citizens.
Musa further revealed that Damilola was arrested on September 6, 2019, after which his mother was apprehended, when she went to withdraw money from the bank upon hearing that the EFCC was investigating her son.
The witness added that she bought properties in the name of her son with the money made from the fraud.
He also told the court that the money stolen by the convicts was used to acquire properties in choice areas of Lagos, and some money was found in their accounts.
One of the count reads: “that you, Damilola Ahmed Adeyeri, Alaba Kareem Adeyeri and Karen Russell (still at large) sometime on the 21st day of June 2017, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of the court conspired to fraudulently impersonate the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American Cranes Manufacturing Company with intent to gain monetary advantage in the sum of $82, 570 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1) (b) and 22 (3) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition Prevention etc) ACT, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (1) of the same Act.”
Another count reads: “That you Damilola Ahmed Adeyeri, Alaba Kareem Adeyeri and Karen Russell (still at large), sometime on the 19th day of July 2017, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court dishonestly represented yourself as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American Cranes Manufacturing Company thereafter you sent an email from email@example.com with intent to gain advantage to yourselves and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1) (a) and 22 (3) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition Prevention etc) ACT, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (1) of the same Act”.
After the charges were read to the convicts, they pleaded “guilty” to the four-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.
In view of their guilty plea, and subsequent analysis of the documentary evidence before the court, Aneke found the suspects guilty on all counts and sentenced them to three years imprisonment on each count, which is to run concurrently.
Aneke further ordered that all the properties and monies recovered from the convicts’ account be forfeited to the federal government.