First-class varsity graduate jailed for $12,000 internet fraud

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The gavel of justice

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An Ikeja High Court in Lagos on Tuesday sentenced a first-class graduate from Lead City University, Ibadan, Olakunle Akanni, for defrauding an American woman, Diana Huizenga, of over 12,000 dollars (N1.92 million) through an internet love scam.

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo sentenced 23-year old Akanni to one year imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the offence during his re-arraignment.

One of his accomplices, Adesina Akinsola, 30, was also given a similar sentence by the judge.

The judge convicted the duo of a two-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences preferred against them.

Lawal-Akapo,however, adjourned the sentencing of their co-accused, 30-year-old Dele Oshuntogun, till Nov. 17.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convicts had entered a plea bargain with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Lawal-Akapo consequently sentenced them to one year imprisonment on each of the counts.

He said the sentences were to run concurrently beginning from the day the judgment was delivered.

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“The first defendant, Akanni, is to pay the sum of N2 million which is the equivalent of $12, 820 to the victim (Huizenga), as restitution.

“Also, the third defendant, Akinsola, is to pay the sum of N500, 000 to the victim as restitution,” the judge ordered.

He also ordered them to write an undertaking to be submitted to the EFCC that they would be of good behaviour upon their release from prison custody.

Mrs Zainab Ettuh , the EFCC counsel, narrating the facts of the case, told the court that the convicts committed the offences between December 2010 and February 2012 in Lagos.

Ettuh said Akanni conspired with others to obtain various sums of money from the 77-year-old American woman.

She said Akanni falsely presented himself to Huizenga as one Robert Lewis, a white American living in Nigeria, who was in love with her.

According to her, the convicts used the “love scam” to fleece the woman and even invited her to come to Nigeria with $90,000 before they were apprehended.

Ettuh said their offences contravened Section 419 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2003.

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