Okechukwu Brown, was on Monday sentenced to three years imprisonment for defrauding an American man, Mr Thomas Nublin, out of 3,650 dollars in an online romance scam.
A Father-of-three, according to reports, committed the offense between August and November 2013 at Ikeja but in July 2014, the EFCC received a petition from the U.S. Army alleging that some persons traced to Nigeria defrauded some of their members out of over 13,000 dollars in a romance scam.
The EFFC however investigated and was able to trace some of the funds amounting to 3,650 dollars to EcoBank Plc via Moneygram which was received by the culprit, who later pleaded guilty to the charge brought against him in court and was sentenced after entering into a plea bargain with the anti graft agency.
The counsel to the defendant, Uche Chikelue, asked the court for mercy in sentencing Brown, saying that not only has he been well behaved, but also co-operated with the prosecution throughout the investigations, has no past criminal record and he has refunded all the money taken.
He said: “He has aged parents, who due to his present incarceration, are having serious health challenges. “He is the first born of the family and the breadwinner, he also has a wife and three children, the last, a toddler,”
Justice Josephine Oyefeso of an Ikeja High Court handed down the verdict after acknowledged that the crime was a dishonour to Nigeria and paints it in a bad light. Hence there must be justice for the defendant, complainant and the country.
“I have also taken into consideration that the Criminal Law of Lagos prescribes 15 years in prison for the offense of obtaining money by false pretences. I hereby sentence the defendant to three years in prison on the one-count charge of obtaining money by false pretenses. This sentence begins from March 13, the day he was first arraigned.”