A 19-year old school-leaver, Tobechukwu Igbokwe, who goes by the pseudonym, David Prince was on Wednesday sentenced to 37 years in prison for defrauding an American to the tune of $40m in an ‘inheritance’ scam.
The duo made the American believe they had a huge inheritance which they wanted to move to a foreign account for safekeep; so the victim was asked to send money to ‘process’ the transfer.
Sila was said to have transferred the said sum ($40m) to Igbokwe through Western Union Money Transfer.
Igbokwe was reportedly arraigned on Monday, October 28, 2013 and pleaded not guilty to the 12 charges pressed against him.
He later changed his plea to guilty and was arraigned before the court on 12 counts bordering on forgery, conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences.
Justice Lateef Akapo of a Lagos High Court convicted the accused after he was found guilty on all counts: ‘Seven years on counts 1-8; eight years on count 9; seven years on count 10, eight years on count 11 and seven years on count 12, making a cumulative of 37 years imprisonment.’
The prosecuting counsel, Kayode Oni, before the conviction, tendered various exhibits before the court, which were all admitted and marked.
However, the defense counsel, D. A. Omougbai prayed the court to tamper justice with mercy, since Igbokwe had shown remorse for the offences he committed.
Meanwhile, Igbokwe also confessed that he had duped other foreigners, including T. Bedwell ($6,000) and R. Hunt ($15,000).
In his ruling, Judge Akapo said, “The sentence is to run concurrently with effect from October 28, 2013.
“Igbokwe is hereby ordered to return the $40m as restitution to the victim and forfeit a Toyota Corolla, which he used part of the money to buy.”