A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has sentenced two men to one-year imprisonment for committing internet fraud and related offences.

The men, Onyeka Ifeanyi Johnson and Andrew Onyebuchi Okwuoha, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on one-count charge each.

Johnson was accused of obtaining funds under false pretence.

The offence, according to the EFCC, contravenes Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act, while Onyebuchi's offence bordered on retention and possession of proceeds of crime contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition ) Act.

The one-count charge said: “That you Onyeka Ifeanyi Johnson a.k.a (Chewning Roger) on or about the 3rd of August, 2018, at Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud did obtain $900 through Western Union, under false pretence from one Kathleen Street, a US national, a pretext you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

“That you Andrew Onyebuchi Okwuoha on or about the 5 April 2019 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did acquire, retain and took possession or control of $2,100 fraudulently transferred from the Bank of America account of one Tina Sakalarkis knowingly or reasonably ought to have known that the said sum forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition ) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded guilty to the offences.

The commission then asked the court to convict the defendants following their guilty plea.

They were both convicted and sentenced to a one-year jail term.

However, Johnson got an option of N500,000 fine.

Justice J.K Omotosho, the presiding Judge, also ordered that the electronic gadget seized from them be forfeited to the federal government.

He ordered them to make restitution to victims of their unlawful activities.

Johnson was arrested by operatives of the EFCC when his apartment at No. 5, Emmanuel Avenue, off Sekibo Road, Odili Road, Port Harcourt, was raided in August.

Okwuoha's ordeal started when he retained $2,100 fraudulently transferred from the Bank of America’s account of one Tina Sakerlarkis, an American into his account, without any lawful transaction between them.
 

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