Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has convicted and sentenced one Gabriel Ohaohakara to one-year imprisonment for $30,000 crypto investment fraud.
The convict perpetrated the scam by creating a fake investment website, britishtradelimited.com, and a telegram channel for the same purpose.
He was jailed on Thursday, October 12, 2023, after pleading guilty to a one-count charge bordering on cryptocurrency fraud, upon being arraigned by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The charge reads: “That you, IHEOHAKARA GABRIEL, on or about the 24th November 2022 in Lagos, within the Judicial Division of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, had in your possession document containing “Crypto Currency Fraud Activity” and other related documents for an online fraudulent activity which you knew to be false.”
The offence is contrary to Sections 6, 8 (b), and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud.
He pleaded “guilty” to the charge when it was read to him.
Following his guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Akhanolu Ikhuoria Godsent, prayed to the court to convict and sentence him accordingly.
Delivering judgment on Thursday, October 12, 2023, Justice Abike-Fadipe convicted him and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment, with an option of a fine of N1,000,000 ( One Million Naira only) and 1000 hours of community service.
The Judge also ordered that the iPhone 13 pro max recovered from him be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, while the sum of $30000 is restituted to the victim.
Ohaohakara’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when he created a fake investment website, britishtradelimited.com, and a telegram channel for the same purpose.
Investigation revealed that a syndicate of fraudsters, sometime in August 2021, sent a message on Telegram with the pseudo name, British Trade Limited, to one Adilio Pizzolo, a Brazilian, offering an investment opportunity in British Trade Limited.
It was further revealed that Pizolo, who later became the victim, had created an account on British Trade Limited as well as an account in a Brazilian bitcoin broker called “Foxbit ” through which he was able to convert Brazilian Reals to bitcoin.
Pizolo was made to deposit approximately $30,000 worth of bitcoins to an address provided by the suspect during a live chat that was integrated on the fictitious ‘British Trade Limited’ website.