Murtala Abdullateef was known in some social media circles as a United States General serving in crisis-torn Syria; but rather than concentrate on his “peace-keeping mission”, he took to scamming, and got caught in the act!
Now, he will have to spend 10 years in jail, if he cannot pay the N200,000.00 fine slammed on him after his failed one month old military and scamming services.
He did not even succeed in his scam – it was only an attempt!
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday secured the conviction of Murtala Abdullateef before Justice Malami Dogondaji of the Sokoto State High Court sitting in Sokoto on one count charge, of attempting to defraud foreigners through Facebook while presenting himself as a United States Army General serving in war-torn Syria.
The charge reads, “that you Murtala Abdullateef sometime in May, 2021 in Sokoto, within the Judicial Division of the High Court of Justice of Sokoto State, dishonestly hacked into Facebook accounts of several European women with intent to defraud them of their hard-earned monies wherein you represented yourself to them as a General in the U. S Army on a peace keeping mission in Syria and you thereby attempted to commit the offence of cheating contrary to Section 58 of the Sokoto State Penal Code Law 2019 and punishable under Section 311 of the same Law”.
Upon arraignment, the “General’s” liver failed him, and he pleaded guilty to the charge.
In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Habila Jonathan, asked the Court to convict and sentence him accordingly. However, the defence counsel, Shamsu Dauda, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy on the grounds that his client is a first time offender who had become remorseful.
Justice Dogondaji, thereafter convicted and sentenced Abdullateef to ten (10) years in prison with an option of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200, 000.00) fine.
“General” Abdullateef’s journey to prison, according to a statement by the EFCC, began when he was arrested along with six other suspects on May 25, 2021 at Badariya in Birnin Kebbi metropolis by operatives of Department of State Services (DSS), for suspected involvement in internet fraud. The other six suspects have been prosecuted and convicted on a separate charge.
Meanwhile, operatives of the EFCC in Lagos have arrested two suspected fraudsters, Konne Israel Barieeba and Osuji Miracle Obieze, for obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N768, 585, 000. 00 (Seven Hundred and Sixty-eight Million, Five Hundred and Eighty-five Thousand Naira).
The suspects, alongside Obialor Christian Worenwu (now at large), allegedly approached an investment company, Luxury Gold, for an investment loan facility.
Subsequently, the sum of N110, 000, 000. 00 (One Hundred and Ten Million Naira) was paid into the GTBank account of Barieeba, while the sum of N255, 000, 000. 00 (Two Hundred and Fifty-five Million Naira) was paid into the First City Monument Bank account of Obieze.
The third suspect, Worenwu, who is at large, also received the sum of N403, 585, 000. 00 (Four Hundred and Three Million, Five Hundred and Eighty-five Thousand Naira) in his GTBank account.
The petitioner also alleged that the loans were to be repaid sometime in March, 2021.
However, all efforts by the petitioner to make the suspects repay the loans granted them proved abortive.
Investigations revealed that the suspects, who were arrested sometime in June 2021, diverted the money obtained from Luxury Gold for their personal use and also bought cars, jewelry and landed properties.
Items recovered from the suspects include exotic cars, diamond jewelry, two laptop computers, iphone devices, two Apple Macbooks and other mobile devices.
Also recovered from the suspects are landed properties purchased with alleged proceeds of crime.
The suspects will soon be charged to court.
In Kaduna, EFCC have commenced investigation into an alleged case of conspiracy, computer-related fraud and benefitting from proceeds of crime levelled against one Okhipo David, who claims to be an undergraduate.
David who was arrested on Monday, 15 March, 2021, had sometime back, presented himself as a staff of a new generation bank, requested for the account details of a complainant in order to update some information on the account. The complainant suspected fraud and refused to oblige his request.
But he let down his guard when another call came from the same telephone number in the same month, requesting for his token details. He volunteered the information without sensing danger.
However, moments after giving out the token details, the victim began receiving debit alerts on his Dollar account to the tune of $4,801.42. He later reported the incident to his bank but till date, no refund was made; hence the decision to seek the intervention of the EFCC.
Investigation revealed that the suspect used four other accounts for the illegal withdrawals and transfer from the complainant’s account. The accused also conspired with his roommate to use his account to receive money from the victim’s account.
Documents suspected to be fraudulent were also recovered from his email.
He will soon be charged to court.
Also, Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday convicted the duo of Oluwole Gbenga Caleb and Ayoola Oluwafemi for fraudulent impersonation. The offence runs contrary to Section 22(2) (b) (i) and is punishable under Section 22(2) (b) (IV) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act, 2015.
They were convicted on a separate one count charge of fraudulent impersonation preferred against them by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Oluwole, 26, who claims to be an Architect, was arrested on February 9, 2021. In the course of investigation, a number of incriminating documents were recovered from his email,
Upon arraignment, he pleaded ‘guilty’ to the one count charge.
Justice Oguntoyinbo thereafter convicted and sentenced him to one month imprisonment. Apart from his conviction, Oluwole was also ordered to restitute the sum of Two Hundred United States Dollars ($200) to the victim. The Court equally ordered the forfeiture of his Infinix mobile phone.
Similarly, Justice Oguntoyinbo convicted Ayoola to three months imprisonment. He was also ordered to restitute the victim in the sum of Two Hundred United States Dollars ($200) and also forfeit one Iphone 6 mobile phone and a Lexus RX 350 SUV car to the Federal Government of Nigeria.