EFCC arraigns suspected fraudster over $12,000 romance scam


The suspect

The suspect

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office has arraigned Aretuemhen Frank (a.k.a Williams Rodgers) before Justice M. L Abubakar of the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on four- count charge bordering on false pretences, impersonation, possession of scam documents and obtaining money by false pretence.

This is contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

Specifically, Frank was docked for allegedly defrauding an American lady, Thorman Benson the sum of $12000 in series of online dating deals.

One of the count charges read: “That you Aretuemhen Frank, on or about December, 2018, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently impersonated one Max Allen, a United States of America soldier, 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.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge preferred against him.

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In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, Samuel Chime applied for a trial date to open his case, while the defence counsel, P.O Nworah, informed the court of an application for bail for his client.

Justice Abubakar granted the applicant bail in the sum of N1 million and one surety in like sum. The surety must be a civil servant residing within the jurisdiction of the court. The judge also remanded him in EFCC custody pending the time he meets his bail condition. He adjourned the matter to July 3, 2019 for trial.

Frank’s ordeal began when operatives of the EFCC, acting on intelligence, raided his hideout and arrested him. An iPhone 6s plus was recovered from him.

Investigation revealed that Frank was representing himself as an American with the United States Army, using Max Allen as his identity. With the fraudulent identity, he succeeded in defrauding an American lady, Thorman Benson the sum of $12,000 by promising to marry her.