Covid-19 scam: Ibadan club owner arraigned for allegedly defrauding Americans
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibadan Zonal Command on Wednesday, arraigned the owner of Ibadan-based Club, De Rock Club, Adepoju Olawale Sunday alias SSG before Justice Uche Agomoh of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State on two separate charges for his alleged involvement in cybercrime and obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of N31,821,000.00 (Thirty One Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty One Thousand Naira).
The first charge, containing eight counts, bordering on identity theft, obtaining COVID – 19 and unemployment benefits from the United States of America Government, while the other 19- count charge is premised on transfer of proceeds of crime to one Owoade Emmanuel David.
According to a statement by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC head of media and publicity, investigations revealed that Adepoju, 36, who claimed to be a graduate of Industrial Chemistry of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State had, during the COVID – 19 pandemic swindled the American government and unsuspecting American citizens thousands of dollars.
He allegedly stole identities of American citizens eligible for the tax refund programme across the U.S and filed the stolen information to claim the benefits.
Investigations also showed that Adepoju through the US Small Business Administration (SBA), a programme established in New York City during Covid-19 to help Americans build resilient businesses, stole personal identifying information of American citizens which he deployed in filing false benefits claims.
One of the eight-counts read, “That you, Adepoju Olawale Sunday (aka SSG), Tope Ogunruku (aka DLA Frd Husband) at large, Owoade Emmanuel David (.ka. UK CEO Ace Lounge) at large, Desmond (aka Stanf line 2 2022) at large and Blessing (aka Ghost) at large, sometime in 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to commit an illegal act to wit; Identity Theft contrary to Sections 27(1)(b) and 22(2) (b) (ii) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc.) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2) (b) of the same Act.”
Count two reads: “That you, Adepoju Olawale Sunday (aka SSG), Tope Ogunruku (aka. DLA Frd Husband) at large, Owoade Emmanuel David (aka UK CEO Ace Lounge) at large, Desmond (aka Stanf line 2 2022) at large and Blessing (aka. Ghost) at large, sometime in 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to commit an illegal act to wit; Obtaining COVID – 19 benefits from the United States of America Government by falsely representing that you are one Joel Richard Carlson and thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 8 and 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.”
Read also:EFCC arraigns ex-ABU VC, bursar over N1bn fraud in Kaduna>
Count one of the19-counts read: “That you, Adepoju Olawale Sunday aka SSG on or about the 21st day of September, 2020 did transfer the sum of N3, 108, 000.00 (Three Million, One Hundred and Eight Thousand Naira) from your bank account domiciled at Guaranty Trust Bank with account number: 0050174721 to one Owoade Emmanuel David (aka UK CEO Ace Lounge) through his bank account domiciled at First City Monument Bank account number: 2875316012, which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceed of an unlawful act thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ when the charges were read to him.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, Mabas Mabur asked the court for a trial date and to remand the defendant pending the determination of the case.
However, counsel to the defendant, Olaniyi George informed the court that he had filed two separate bail applications on behalf of his client and prayed the court to grant the defendant bail.
However, Mabur told the court to reject the applications on the grounds that the defendant is a flight risk who has pending charges against him in other law courts.
Justice Agomoh, adjourned the matter till April 18, 2023 for ruling and ordered that the defendant be remanded in the Agodi Correctional facility.
Uwujaren stated that the defendant was arrested on August 31, 2022, alongside 21 other suspected internet fraudsters, in an intelligence-driven operation carried out by the operatives of the Ibadan Zonal Command of the EFCC.
He was arrested with a 2020 Range Rover HSE Sports Utility Vehicle, an iPhone 13 Pro Max and Hp laptop, among others.
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