Lagos - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have arrested a suspected teenage internet fraudster, Tobechukwu Igbokwe, and his accomplice, Ifeanyi Obi for allegedly defrauding an American of $40 million.
The suspects, who were arraigned before Justice Lawal of a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on a 12-count charge bordering on forgery, conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretences contrary to Sections 8(a) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006, were remanded in prison custody pending their bail hearing.
Igbokwe, 19-year-old secondary school leaver, was alleged to have duped his victims, many of them foreigners, of huge sums through the internet under fraudulent guises.
He allegedly worked in concert with Obi to dupe an American, Micheal Silva, of $40 million in an inheritance scam.
Silva was made to believe that Igbokwe and his accomplice had a huge inheritance that 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 $40 million in installments through Western Union Transfer to Igbokwe and Obi.
Igbokwe also confessed that he had duped other foreigners among them a Tommy Bedwell, who lost $6,000 to him and Richard Hunt, $15,000.
One of the charges against Igbokwe and Obi read: "Tobechukwu Igbokwe (alias David Prince, alias John Emma, sometimes in the month of October 2011 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, obtained $800, $700, $200, $400, $200, $300, $500, $500, $500, $200 (totaling $5,500).
"Which sum you obtained separately from Michael Silva of the United States of America under false pretence that the money represent part payment for processing inheritance funds due him as a beneficiary of the fund and which pretence you knew was false."
When the charges were read to them, the defendants pleaded not guilty.
EFCC counsel, Fadeke Giwa prayed the court for a trial date and to remand the accused persons in prison custody.
However, counsel to the first defendant, D. A. Omougbai, asked for a short date to file his bail application.
Also, counsel to the second defendant, D. A. Eimuejel, prayed the court to accept the bail application he filed on behalf of his client.
Justice Akapo, however, adjourned the matter till December 3 and ordered that the defendants be remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos.