Adekunle Abiodun Aderibigbe, a fraudster, has been jailed for two years by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja over retention of crime proceeds.
Trouble began for the convict when the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that the convict is a member of a syndicate operating in the US and specialised in the stealing of US citizens’ data to obtain fraudulent tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, IRS.
The bureau in the July 10, 2020 report further alleged that the defendant along with other members of the syndicate perpetrated the fraud through the help of one Curtis Betley serving jail-term in the US, in stealing the identities of American citizens and using same to file over 255 fraudulent tax fund returns with the IRS making over $1.6million.
Following up on the report from the FBI, the EFCC investigated and arrested Adekunle Abiodun Aderibigbe, filed an amended five-count charge against him on the 5th of August 2020.
At his trial, the convict whom the EFCC proved the criminal case against him beyond all reasonable doubt was found to be a member of syndicate who were notorious for stealing of United States of America citizens’ data to obtain fraudulent tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, USA.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Taiwo held that the money traced to the convict are proceeds of crime as he was unable to prove his source of money sufficiently.
The commission arraigned the convict following a petition from the FBI of the United States.
Aderibigbe was charged with offences bordering on retention of proceeds of criminal conduct contrary to Section 17 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act 2004, and impersonation, contrary to Section 378 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
He pleaded not guilty to all the count charges levelled against him during arraignment.
Ahmed Yerima, the prosecution counsel for the EFCC, opened its case on 24th August, 2020, called three witnesses, tendered several documentary evidence to proof the allegation against him.
Upon the close of the prosecution’s case, the defence opened its case on the 3rd October 2021, as the defendant took to the witness box to defend himself.
Justice Taiwo found him guilty as charged for the offence of retention of proceeds of criminal conduct and sentenced to two years.
She ordered him to restitute the sum of eight million naira, while discharging and acquitting him for the offence of impersonation.
Lanre Oloidi, defence counsel to the defendant pleaded on his behalf before the court granted him an option of fine of two million naira.
One of the counts reads: “Adekunle Abiodun Aderibigbe, sometime between the year 2014 and 2016 in Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court retained in your control the aggregate sum of N22,000,000 only in your GTB bank account being proceeds of criminal conduct on behalf of Olumiyiwa Olawoye, Adekunle Adegunroye, Keke Animahun (all at large).”
Another count reads: “Adekunle Abiodun Aderibigbe, sometime between 2013 and 2016 in Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud, opened an email account email@example.com linked to your GSM number 0803366089 and 08059985552 and hid your identity by falsely representing yourself to unsuspecting members of the public as tax collector in the United States of America, which pretence you knew was false.”