Graduate jailed 2 years for internet romance scam

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday convicted a graduate, Paul Dogun, to two years in prison for impersonating a US military officer and engaging in an internet love scam.

Justice Ramon Oshodi sentenced Dogun to two years at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre, following his plea bargain to an amended charge of impersonation.

“I have listened to you and your lawyer’s allocutus but I do not agree that your guilty please is timing.

“The only reason I am inclined to grant non-custodial is because I can see you are remorseful.

“I hereby sentence you to  two years imprisonment,” he said.

Oshodi ordered that the convict should serve our his jail term or pay a fine of N3 million.

The judge also held that the laptop of the convict and his three other phones which were retrieved from him during trial be forfeited to the Federal Government.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier arraigned Dogun sometimes in 2022 on a two-count charge of possession of fraudulent document and impersonation to which he had pleaded not guilty.

The EFCC counsel, Mr Audu Damua, called one witness during the trial and the prosecution had closed it case.

However, the defendant changed his plea when the case was called on Monday for him to open his defence.

According to the review of facts by the prosecution, the defendant identified himself as one Gabby Mcquire and his victim’s name was Catherine Meg.

He confessed to have downloaded the pictures of a military officer from google and sent friend request to various white women.

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The defendant, in his plea for mercy, begged the court for leniency, adding that he had made a mistake and was ashamed of the act.

“I am sorry for my misconduct my lord, I studied international relations as an undergraduate and I have a masters degree in psychology. I used to work before but I lost my job due to the mess I created for myself.

“I made a great mistake and I am ashamed of it. I have spent some time in the correctional centre and I have learnt a lot of lessons.

“I married two years ago and my wife is heavily pregnant. She could not make it to court today due to financial constraint.

“I am deeply sorry my lord. Please have mercy on me as I have turned a new leaf,” he said.

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The defence counsel, Mr Nathaniel Ojobo, in his allocutus, also prayed the court to grant the defendant non-custodial sentencing, adding that the defendant was a first-time offender .

“Like a prodigal son, we are before your lordship to give him a second chance.

“Having spent more than four months in prison, even his unborn child will be ashamed that his father is engaged in this crime.

“We pray the court to temper Justice with mercy,” Ojobo said.

Th prosecution, however, applied that the exhibits tendered during the trial be forfeited to the federal government.

According to the EFCC counsel, the offence contravened Section 380 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015. (NAN)

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