An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has sentenced one Mike Atelemo to seven years’ imprisonment for defrauding some persons at Ode-Irele in the Irele Local Government Area of the state.
The convict was said to have defrauded his victims between June 2017 and May 2018, collecting a sum of N42.4m from them under false pretences to help them invest in a “Federal Government Empowerment Scheme” with huge returns at the end of the month.
After committing the offence, Atelemo reportedly fled to Delta State but was later arrested and charged after the complainants petitioned the Department of State Services.
He was arraigned in February 2019 on 14 counts bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences and impersonation but pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During the trial, 12 witnesses were called and they narrated how they were paid interest on their first investment but lost all their money when they decided to “invest big.”
In his judgment, Justice Samuel Bola said the convict admitted obtaining the money from the complainants with the claim of operating a cooperative society.
The court also held that the convict did not open any account for the cooperative society and that money sent to him was lodged in his personal account.
The judge ruled that the project was not a cooperative but a phony empowerment scheme made to appear credible using the tag “Federal Government Scheme.”
He sentenced Atelemo to seven years’ imprisonment for conspiracy, seven years for obtaining money under false pretences and three years for impersonation.
However, the judge ruled that the sentences were to run concurrently.
Justice Bola also ordered Atelemo to pay the victims all the sums of money due to them.
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