The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) partnered with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of America to secure the conviction of Anthony Osaro, an online fraudster.
Mrs Vera Agboje, a prosecutor for the anti-graft agency said this on Monday at an Ikeja Special Offences Court during the sentencing of the 22-year-old Osaro following a plea bargain agreement he entered into with the EFCC.
Agboje addressing the court said that the EFCC had received a petition in June 2017 from the Ogun chapter of the Neighbourhood Observers.
She said that the petition was about the nefarious activities of some persons who habitually defrauded unsuspecting members of the public.
“Osaro was arrested and an Asus Laptop and a Toyota Camry car were found in his possession.
“He was taken to the Internet Fraud Unit of the EFCC where he was processed.
“We conducted our investigations and we contacted the FBI. They revealed that the documents which were printed out through the defendant’s Asus Laptop were fraudulent.
“By a letter dated Nov. 6, 2018, the defendant through his legal representative applied to enter into a plea bargain agreement.
“My Lord, on the plea bargain agreement, we say the defendant is remorseful.
“We urge the court to sentence him to one-year imprisonment starting from Oct. 26, 2018 which was the day he was first arraigned,” Agboje said.
The EFCC prosecutor tendered as evidence, the letter written by the anti-graft agency to the legal attaché of the FBI and the FBI’s letter of response.
The EFCC also tendered as evidence the petition submitted by the Neighbourhood Observers, the documents printed from Osaro’s laptop and his statement to the EFCC.
Earlier during proceedings, Osaro pleaded guilty to a four-count charge of being in possession of documents containing false presence contrary to Section 318 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011.
According to the EFCC, Osaro committed the offences on June 29 in Lagos.
He allegedly had false documents titled ‘Customs Controlling Dept. Intl Affaires’, ‘Delivery Certificate’, ‘Federal Government Grant Money Support’, and ‘Federal Government Grant Money Support Prize Award Dept.’’
The illegal documents were allegedly printed from Osaro’s Asus Laptop with number – F4NOCU519823177.
Mrs Amaka Eze-Ugboaka, Osaro’s defence counsel, in her allocutus (plea for mercy before sentencing) asked the court to temper justice with mercy on him.
She said: “The defendant, being a young man, is highly impressionable.
“He will not fare so well spending a long time in prison knowing that our prisons have lost that glory of being a place of reformation.
“We urge the court to be gracious in granting the proposed agreement between the defendant and the prosecution.
“The defendant is a trained barber and hairdresser. His older brother has promised that he will purchase a container for him where he can start up his hairdressing and barbing business.
“Furthermore, the defendant is a first-time offender and he has promised that he will shun a life of crime.”
Justice Olusola Williams while sentencing Osaro, said that he was satisfied that the defendant was not coerced into entering into the plea bargain agreement with the EFCC.
“The ingredient of the offence of being in possession of documents containing false presence has been proved.
“I find the defendant guilty as charged,” she said.
Williams sentencing Osaro to a year in prison, rejected the term in the plea bargain agreement that Osaro’s jail term should begin on Oct. 26, 2018, the day he was first arraigned.
“The defendant is sentenced to one year imprisonment on each of the counts, the terms shall run concurrently and the sentence shall begin today, Jan. 28, 2019,” she said.