A Nigerian internet fraudster has been apprehended to answer for his crime after allegedly duping people from 13 countries.
The first prosecution witness in the trial of Eze Harrison Arinze told Justice J. K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, how Arinze received $382,000 (Three Hundred and Eighty Two Thousand United States Dollars) worth of bitcoins from his victims before his account was blocked by his Virtual Asset Service Provider, VASP.
The witness, Ogunjobi Olalekan, an officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the court that Arinze’s victims were deceived into withdrawing their funds and deposited them into Arinze’s bitcoin accounts, thinking that they were transacting legitimate businesses.
Arinze was arraigned on March 22, 2023, before Justice Omotosho, on five count charges bordering on obtaining by false pretence and money laundering to the tune of $769,263 (Seven Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty Three United States Dollars).
He pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.
At the resumed trial of the case, Olalekan told the court that:
“We requested for users on the platform who have deposited crypto currency to the defendant’s account and their names were provided. About thirty persons on the platforms deposited various sums of bitcoin to the defendant’s account”.
Continuing, he explained that: “those that were identified were from thirteen different countries- the total inflow to his bitcoin wallet address based on the response was about 15.5btc valued around $382,000 (Three Hundred and Eighty Two United States Dollars and the defendant has withdrawn about 5btc before it was blocked.”
“We got the information of these users who deposited the funds, showing their user identities, location, money deposited at different intervals, wallet addresses where these funds were sent to at different intervals”, he said. He further stated that other vital information like “the amount they sent, dollar equivalent, email addresses of depositors, transaction identities”, were also disclosed.
Olalekan told the court that 28 out of the 30 depositors were reached through their email addresses to establish the purpose of the various sums they deposited in the defendant’s account and what they knew about “Swiss-Coin, Swiss earning, Swiss coins and Digitrades ltd.”
After listening to the witness testimony, Justice Omotosho adjourned the matter for continuation to June 14, 2023 and ordered the remand of the defendant in Kuje Correctional Centre.