Justice Lateef Akapo of a Lagos High Court on Wednesday convicted a 19-year old school-leaver, Tobechukwu Igbokwe, and sentenced him to 37 years’ imprisonment for defrauding an American of $40m in an inheritance scam.
Igbokwe (alias David Prince) and his accomplice, Ifeanyi Obi, made M. Sila to believe that they had a huge inheritance, which they wanted to move to a foreign account for safekeeping.
The victim was asked to send money to “process” the transfer and in the process, he wired $40m through Western Union to Igbokwe.
Igbokwe also confessed that he had duped other foreigners, including T. Bedwell ( $6,000) and R. Hunt ($15,000).
He was arraigned before the court on 12 counts bordering on forgery, conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences.
Justice Akapo found him guilty on all counts and sentenced him accordingly. He was sentenced to seven years on counts 1-8; eight years on count 9; seven years on count 10, eight years on count 11 and seven years on count 12, making a cumulative of 37 years imprisonment.
The sentence is to run concurrently with effect from October 28, 2013. The court also ordered Igbokwe to return the $40m as restitution to the victim and forfeit a Toyota Corolla, which he used part of the money to buy.
Igbokwe was arraigned on Monday, October 28, 2013 and pleaded not guilty to the 12 charges pressed against him. He later changed his plea to guilty and was convicted by Justice Akapo accordingly.
Before the conviction, the prosecuting counsel, Kayode Oni, tendered various exhibits before the court, which were all admitted and marked as such.
However, the defence counsel, D. A. Omougbai prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, since Igbokwe had shown remorse for the offences he committed.