They are part of Nigeria’s growing army of fake ‘foreign’ lovers, who prey on love-seeking women. Tweaking their computers, claiming to be foreigners, they seduce foreigners, collect hard-earned foreign currencies from them, and voila, they become big boys and local champions among their peers.
However, little by little, one by one, the law is catching up with them; they are being made to return their ill-gotten weaith, getting jailed, or paying fines.
Enter Citizens Daniel Iluobe, Ifeanyi Chukwudi Paul and Godwin Joseph Ovboke who are now ex-convicts.
Justice Fatun Riman of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, May 10 2019, convicted and sentenced the trio to two years imprisonment each, for internet fraud.
Iluobe, while posing as a Chinese, Huang Guang, fraudulently sent electronic messages to a Chinese woman promising her marriage. He further demanded the sum of $200 which his victim sent to him via Western Union.
Ovboke falsely portrayed himself as Lancelot Degory, a United States citizen, and succeeded in defrauding one Cheow Lim of $1,400, after he lied to her that he was going to meet her in Singapore where they were supposed to get married.
Paul, on the other hand, claimed he was a Construction Engineer based in Syria, and under that guise, he succeeded in defrauding one Simone Cardoso of £600 (Six Hundred Pounds) with a false promise of marriage.
The convicts were arraigned on separate charges and all three pleaded “guilty” to the one-count charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Before they were convicted and sentenced for their various offences, the prosecuting counsel, N.K. Ukoha prayed the court to allow his witness take the stand and review the facts of the cases.
The prosecution witness, Joseph Simon Akor, an EFCC operative, narrated how the convicts were arrested at different locations and on different dates, following intelligence gathered during surveillance.
He told the court that Paul was arrested on May 5, 2019 at his apartment on Charles Effiong Close, Satellite Town, Calabar, while Ovboke and Iluobe were arrested at Itagbor Agbeansa area of Calabar.
“During investigations, forensic analysis carried out on their laptops showed that they were into internet fraud as we saw all the electronic messages they used to dupe their victims,” he said.
After leading the witness in evidence, Ukoha then urged the court to convict and sentence them, accordingly.
While delivering judgement, Justice Riman sentenced Iluobe to two years in prison with an option of fine of N50,000, and ordered that the convict must restitute the entire sum of $200 (Two Hundred Dollars) to his victim.
Ovboke was sentenced to two years in prison with an option of fine of N100,000 and ordered to refund the sum of $1,400 to the victim as restitution.
Paul was also sentenced to two years in prison with an option of fine of N100,000. He was also ordered by the court to pay back £600 (Six Hundred Pounds) to the victim he defrauded.
The court also ordered that all three convicts forfeit every item recovered from them at the point of arrest to the Federal Government.
They are currently in prison where they’ll remain till they fulfil the conditions given them by the court or serve out their prison terms.
In Port Harcourt, another loverboy, with a similar scam tale was sentenced to six months in jail.
Justice I. M Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State convicted and sentenced Uchenna Samuel Nwosu (a.ka. Jackson Mendez) to six months imprisonment for internet fraud, impersonation and obtaining the sum of $500 (Five Hundred American Dollars) from an American, Carmen Alvarez, under false pretence.
Nwosu was arraigned by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office on April 11, 2019 on three-count charges bordering on internet fraud, impersonation and obtaining under false pretences contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.
One of the count read: “That you UCHENMNA SAMUEL NWOSU (alias Jackson mendez) on or about February 2019, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court had in your possession (your email address: email@example.com) documents containing false pretence which you knew or ought to know contains false pretence and thereby committed an offence or an attempt to commit an offence contrary to section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under section 1 (3) of the same Act”.
Nwosu originally pleaded “not guilty” to the charges but later changed his plea to “guilty”.
Based on his changed plea, Prosecuting counsel, Barrister Samuel Chime prayed the court to convict him accordingly.
Justice Sani convicted and sentenced him to six months imprisonment on each of the three – count charges. The sentence however runs concurrently. The court also ordered Nwosu to restitute the $500 he collected from his victim. Also, the court ruled that a laptop, Lenovo T410, recovered from him should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Nwosu’s journey to prison began when he was arrested along Liberty Drive, Woji, Port Harcourt, for his involvement in online dating scam. Specifically, he impersonated an American soldier in Syria to defraud Carmen Alvarez, an American lady of $500, being a part-payment of $2,350 he requested from her in an online chat.