The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, July 5, 2013, arraigned one Omoike Emmanuel, a suspected internet fraudster before Justice E. F. Ikponmwen, on an 8-count charge bordering on internet fraud and obtaining by false pretence.

One of the counts read; “that you, Omoike Emmanuel on or about the 29th day of May 2007 at Benin within the Benin Judicial Division with intent to defraud had in your possession a document containing false pretence to wit an email dated May 29th 2007 captioned "FWD" CONGRATULATIONS YOUR EMAIL HAS EMERGED AS ONE OF THE LUCKY WINNER" purporting the said email to have been written by one Mrs. J. Benson/Dr. Samuel Bent, public relations officer, British Embassy (Lottery coordinator)”

The accused pleaded not guilty to all charges preferred against him.
In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel,  Ayokunle Fayanju,  prayed the court to fix a trial date to enable the prosecution prove its case against the accused person. He also urged the court to remand the accused in prison custody pending hearing on the bail application.

Justice Ikponmwen adjourned the case to July 18 and 19, 2013 for definite trial and determination of the bail application.

Emmanuel was arrested following a petition from the United States National Aeronautical Space Administration, NASA, and the United States Department of Justice, USDOJ in 2011 complaining about the atrocities of a deadly gang of scammers operating from Benin City, Edo State.

According to the petition from NASA’s Computer Crimes Division, the criminal gang had caused untold hardship, both financial and emotional, to victims across the globe.

The US Agency’s report identified a total of fourteen scammers from Benin City, Edo State in 2012. Ten of the scammers according to NASA, were in Nigeria while four, including Omoike Emmanuel, who was in South Africa at the time, operated outside Nigeria.

The petitioners claimed that the cartel had undermined the computer network of several organizations in the United States.

Investigations by the EFCC confirmed that the syndicate actually operated from the Benin - Asaba axis of Edo and Delta States.

Emmanuel was arrested by the EFCC in January 2013 in Benin City.

Wilson Uwujaren

Ag. Head, Media & Publicity

5th July, 2013

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