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Internet fraudster bags jail term for impersonation in Abuja

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Gwagwalada, on Tuesday sentenced a man, Jeffrey Umahon, to one year imprisonment for internet fraud when he pretended to be a Chinese American businessman.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) docked Umahon (a.k.a Shengxin Lu) for attempting to cheat by impersonation.

He pleaded guilty to the charge and begged the court for leniency.

Delivering judgment, Justice Aliyu Shafa, convicted and sentenced Umahon, while giving him an option to pay a fine of N200,000.

Shafa ordered that the Infinix cell phone and Deli laptop which were used as instruments for exploit be forfeited to the Federal Government.

He said that the forfeited property should be sold by the EFCC and the proceeds realised be deposited in government account.

He ordered that the convict to swear an affidavit of good behaviour for one year.

He said this would serve as a deterrent to anyone that wanted to toe the part of the convict.

Earlier, the convict had pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that he would not indulge in such act again.

“I am a secondary school three (SS3) dropout as a result of having no funds to continue. I am very sorry for my action and promise not to do that again,” he said.

The defence counsel, Mr M.K. Nwogu, in support of the allocutus by the convict, told the court that Umahon, who had no previous conviction record in Nigeria, was very remorseful and repentant.

“The convict dropped out of school and since then has taken a vocation in barbing.

“But due to peer pressure, he left the job to chase after media wealth as the first son of the family to take care of his mother and siblings.

“He has the intention of furthering his education. He is a first time offender. We beg the court to temper justice with mercy,” Nwogu pleaded.

Nwogu also appealed to the court to use its discretion and consider a community service for the convict, which the court objected to, adding that the court would abide by the plea bargain they have entered into.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the prosecution counsel, Christopher Mshelia, told the court that Umahon and his counsel had entered and signed a plea bargain on Monday.

Mshelia also told the court that the convict sometimes in 2023 within the jurisdiction of the court, attempted to cheat by pretending to be one Shengxin Lu, a Chinese American businessman.

He said that the convict in that assumed character, chatted one Hoang Trang with the intent to cheat.

Mshelia said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 95 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 324 of the same Penal Code.