Eleven cyber-criminals are in hot soup for hacking on Facebook and perpetrating scams. Six were sentenced in Calabar, Crss River State, while five were nabbed in Abuja, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced.
Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, on Thursday convicted and sentenced the six Facebook Hackers to one year imprisonment each, with an option of fine of Five hundred thousand naira (N500,000.00).
The convicts are; Lawrence Nnamdi-Mba Ebesike, Prince E. Udeh, Chijioke Victor, Promise Odimba, Ugbor Ifeanyi and Prince Anthony.
They were arraigned on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 on separate one-count charge, bordering on impersonation and fraud, before the same court and they all pleaded “guilty”.
In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Usman Shehu, informed the court of the plea bargain agreements entered and executed by the prosecution and the defence.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to September 26, 2019, for conviction and sentence while the convicts were remanded in Afokang prison, Calabar.
Delivering judgement on Thursday, Justice Amobeda convicted all the defendants and sentenced each to one year imprisonment, with the option of N500,000 fine. He ordered that the convict “shall forfeit all the items recovered during arrest.”
The items are; six laptops, 12 sophisticated mobile phones, one International Passport, four Airtel Sim Packs, three MTN Sim Packs, two Glo Sim Packs,one Smile Router and two Modems.
The convicts ran into trouble on September 2, 2019, when operatives of Uyo Zonal Office of the EFCC arrested them in a two bedroom apartment, located on 54 Church Road, off Calabar Itu Express Way, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, following an intelligence report on their nefarious activities in the town.
During interrogation, the suspects said the apartment which served as their home and office, was rented by the kingpin, Ebesike, for the purpose of training facebook hackers.
Confessing to the crime, Ebesike who claimed to be a musician with the stage name ‘Lawre Blue’, gave a detailed account of how they carried out their operations on Facebook.
“I am into internet fraud. Part of how I operate is, I edit Facebook accounts, go to google and search for pictures of United State military personnel. I download some of these pictures and put them on the newly created facebook accounts. After doing that, I target foreigners, mostly old white women who are in need of men. I stay online all day trying to befriend them. After convincing them, I will make them apply for my leave so that I can see them”, Ebesike confessed.
Meanwhile in Abuja, operatives of the Cybercrime Section of the Abuja Zonal Office last Tuesday raided the residence of suspected internet fraudsters at No 5 Arbe Saibra Dantata Estate Kubwa, Abuja.
The operation was triggered by intelligence regarding the activities of the suspects who were placed under close surveillance for weeks.
The suspects arrested are Aifuwa Aisosa, Desmond Imasuen, Usman Malik, Odiesen Ken, Odiase Emmanuel and Aifuwa Henry.
Some of the items recovered from the suspects include mobile phones, laptop computers, and a Mercedes C350.
In the same vein, the Advanced Fee Fraud section of the Abuja Zonal office on Thursday, September 26, arrested another cybercrime suspect, Mbaeri Anselm Chukwuma at David Estate, Gwarimpa. Items recovered from him include a Toyota Rav4, 2 laptops, 2 phones and a Pump Action Rifle with 2 Cartridges.
These suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.