HomeNewsNigerian Court Jails 17 Cybercriminals for Impersonating Bank Officials

Nigerian Court Jails 17 Cybercriminals for Impersonating Bank Officials

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A high court in Benin City, Edo State, has sentenced 17 internet fraudsters to various prison terms for impersonating bank officials and creating fake websites to scam their victims. The convicts were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a one-count charge of impersonation and possession of fraudulent documents.

The court heard that the fraudsters used Nigerian-based companies to carry out different types of online fraud, such as business email compromise, online bank heists, and phishing. They targeted unsuspecting individuals and organisations in Nigeria and abroad, and stole millions of naira from them.

One of the convicts, Ochuko Godfrey, pretended to be Richard Williams and Antonio Matthew, while another, Joshua Ngerem, claimed to be working for a children’s school in Qatar. They used fake email addresses, phone numbers, and websites to deceive their victims and make them transfer money to their accounts.

The judge, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, convicted and sentenced the fraudsters to three years imprisonment each, with an option of paying fines ranging from N300,000 to N500,000. The judge also ordered the forfeiture of their mobile phones, laptops, and bank balances, which were proceeds of their crimes. The court further ordered the closure of their bank accounts.

The EFCC said the conviction and sentencing of the fraudsters demonstrated its commitment to fight cybercrime and protect the public from online fraudsters. The commission also urged the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious online activities to the authorities.

Internet fraud is a serious problem in Nigeria, where many young people see it as a way to escape poverty and unemployment. According to the FBI, Nigeria is one of the top sources of cybercrime in the world, and Nigerian fraudsters have been involved in some of the most notorious online scams, such as the Hushpuppi case and the Obinwanne Okeke case.

However, there are also efforts to curb the menace of cybercrime and promote positive and legitimate online activities in Nigeria. For example, the Nigerian government has launched a national cybersecurity policy and strategy, and some civil society organisations have initiated campaigns and programmes to educate and empower young people on the ethical use of the internet.

Source: Punch

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