A-30-year old musician, Richard Utomo Endurance, has been sentenced to six months imprisonment for his involvement in internet love scam.
The trial judge, Justice Ramon Oshodi of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja handed down this judgement on Monday following the defendant’s plea of guilt upon being docked on a lone count charge of possession of fraudulent documents.
The defendant who claimed to be a musician was charged before the court after his arrest in December 2022 by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The defendant pleaded guilty to the lone charge preferred against him before the court bordering on possession of fraudulent documents.
He agreed to the fact that he opted to plead guilty to the charge in a plea bargain arrangement.
Prosecuting counsel, Ayanfe Adeshina informed the court that the anti-graft agency received an anonymous complaint that the defendant and others were living large without any legitimate means of livelihood.
He said surveillance was carried out to confirm and verify the complainant. Based on that a raid was conducted and the defendant and others were arrested by the EFCC around Lekki Palm Estate, Ajah, Lagos.
The prosecutor added that upon his arrest, he was found with an IPhone 11 Pro Max and one HP laptop; his e-mail and phones were analysed and several documents were found.
Further investigation revealed that he has several e-mails containing romance scam, one of which he falsely represent himself to be one Jack Selver, a white male from a dating site.
The defendant was interviewed and he made a voluntary statement where he confirmed engaging in a dating scam for which he has in his possession various documents which are false.
Subsequently, he was charged to court but he approached the commission through his counsel.
He however prayed the court to convict the defendant accordingly.
While sentencing the defendant, the judge said, “The defendant is very much aware of the nature of the amended charged presented before the court.
“He admitted and pleaded guilty, thereby entering into the guilty plea voluntarily.
“Following your guilty plea and admission of the crime, I hereby convict you Richard Endurance Utomo.
“I have listened to your plea for leniency, I am convinced that you are a first time offender who has not benefited from the proceeds of the fraud. I see that you are generally repentant. I do agree that a minimum sentence should be applied.
“I hereby sentenced you to six months jail term with the option of fine of N200,000.”
Earlier in his plea for leniency, the defendant said he is sorry and will henceforth be of good behaviour.
He said he is a musician and he has recorded two tracks.
According to him, “I was influenced by a friend who introduced me to internet fraud scam and I have not made anything from the scam.”
The defence counsel, Dike Okoi told the court that he is a first time offender and he has learnt his lessons.
“The defendant does not live in that axis but was arrested because he visited the neighbourhood to ask the others arrested to help promote his music.
“We urge my lord to give him a minimal sentence and non custodial sentence.”