Justice E.A. Obile of the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Monday, May 6, 2019 convicted and sentenced Mr Adediran Emmanuel Tope to six months imprisonment for defrauding a Brazilian, Deborah Noemia Moreira of the sum of $20,000 (Twenty Thousand United States Dollars).
Tope was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt Zonal Office, same Monday, May 6, 2019 on a two- count charge, bordering on impersonation and advance fee fraud contrary to Section 22(3)(a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.
Count one of the charges reads: “That you Adediran Emmanuel Tope on or about March 2019, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, fraudulently impersonated one Finn Guerilla with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(3) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(4) of the same Act.
He pleaded guilty to the two charges.
Based on his guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Samuel Chime, informed the court of a plea bargain agreement, entered into with defendant and prayed that he be convicted accordingly. Justice Obile convicted and sentenced Tope to six months imprisonment on each count charge without an option of fine. The sentences run concurrently.
Tope’s road to prison began when he was arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-robbery Squad at Eliozu Flyover, Port Harcourt on suspicion of being an internet fraudster.
He was handed over to the EFCC for investigations and possible prosecution. Investigations by the Commission showed that Tope was into fraudulent online dating and had a Whatsapp number registered with a foreign phone number, with which he used to establish relationship with an unsuspecting Brazilian lady, Deborah Noemia Moreira, while assuming the name and identity of a Briton, Finn Guerilla.
He made Moreira believe that he was rich, and promised to send her a large sum of money but needed to resolve some hurdles for which he conned Moreira to send him some money.
Moreira sent Tope as much as $20,000 in her bid to claim the non-existing huge sum he promised her.
Tope came to the end of the road when he was arrested while cruising his black Range Rover Sport Utility Vehicle.