The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, has convicted and sentenced one Adekunle Aderibigbe for fraud.
Aderibigbe, said to be on the wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was nabbed by the Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and dragged before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo.
Aderibigbe, who EFCC described as a member of a syndicate operating in the United States, was said to specialised in stealing of United States citizens’ data to obtain fraudulent tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service.
A statement by the agency’s spokeman, Wilson, Uwujaren, stated that the defendant, alongside other members of the syndicate, perpetrated the fraud through the help of one Curtis Betley serving a jail-term in the US to steal the identities of American nationals and use the same to file over 255 fraudulent tax fund returns with the IRS, making over $1.6m.
The statement said, acting on the FBI report and after diligent investigation, the EFCC arrested Aderibigbe.
“He was subsequently arraigned on August 5,2020 on an amended five counts bordering on retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, contrary to Section 17 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act 2004, and impersonation, contrary to Section 378 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
“One of the counts reads, “That youAdekunle Abiodun Aderibigbe, sometime between the year 2014 and 2016 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court, retained in your control the aggregate sum of N22,000,000 only in your GTB bank account, being proceeds of criminal conduct on behalf of Olumiyiwa Olawoye, Adekunle Adegunroye, Keke Animahun (all at large).
“He pleaded “not guilty” to the charge preferred against him,” the statement said.
The prosecution counsel, Ahmed Yerima, was said to have called three witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence against the defendant by the court.
“Delivering judgment on Friday, June 10, 2022, Justice Taiwo held that the money traced to the defendant was the proceeds of crime, as he failed to prove its source sufficiently.
“He was found guilty as charged for the offence of retention of proceeds of criminal conduct and sentenced to two years, with an option of N2m fine.
He was also ordered to restitute the sum of N8m.”
He was discharged and acquitted over the offence of impersonation.