NIGERIA: A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced a 22 –year- old internet fraudster, Bike John Niye to one and half years imprisonment for defrauding an American lady, Laura Wallmam of $53,500.
In her judgment on the matter, Justice Adebisi Akinlade held that the convict was guilty as charged, having found him guilty on the four- count charge of obtaining money through false pretence.
The judge further directed Niye to refund $48,500 as restitution to the victim.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had brought the convict to court for defrauding Wallmam, who hails from Indiana, United States of the said $53,500.
Niye was said to have presented himself to Wallmam as businessman who operates a ‘moving’ company and needed money to get some of his goods out of storage. He met Wallmam in a dating site and has been in a relationship with her, using a fictitious name, Toby Encore.
But his journey to prison began on May 27 2010 when officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and DHL Courier Services intercepted a suspicious parcel containing a Teddy Bear and a Blackberry handset sent from the US to the convict by Wallmam.
The parcel was examined and it was discovered that it contained $40,000, a Blackberry handset, and a white lady’s photograph concealed in the Teddy Bear. The parcel was to be delivered to an address in Alapere, a suburb of Lagos with the name Tobi Encore and a Nigerian phone number also belonging to the same recipient. With the phone number, the convicted fraudster was traced and upon finding him, he was handed over to the EFCC for further investigations.
Upon investigation, Operatives of the EFCC discovered that the name Tony Encore was used by the fraudster to deceive the American in order to defraud her. It was found out that his real name is Bike John Niye. The operatives also discovered that it was Niye who instructed the victim to conceal all the items in a Teddy Bear.
Investigations also revealed that Niye has been receiving various sums of money from the victim via Western Union totalling about US$25,000 before the parcel which finally landed him in jail. To enable him collect the sent funds via Western Union , findings revealed that Niye obtained a Driver’s license with a forged identity bearing the name Nathan Omarkeh. He usually destroys the identity card after collecting money sent to him.