Church founder wanted by FBI for wire fraud arrested in Enugu

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Operatives of the Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have arrested a suspect on the wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Kelechi Anozie.

Anozie, said to be the founder of Praying City Church in Owerri, Imo State, was reportedly nabbed on March 10, 2022, following credible intelligence linking him to alleged conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

A statement on Thursday by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, stated, “Anozie and four other suspects: Valentine Iro, Ekene Ekechukwu (alias Ogedi Power), Bright Azubuike (alias Bright Bauer Azubuike) and Ifeanyi Junior,  are alleged to have defrauded one F.F. who lives in Illinois, United States, of the sum of $135,800 and another $47,000.”

Meanwhile, Justice Muhammed Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin, on Thursday, sentenced a 24-year-old man, Taiwo Emmanuel, to six-month imprisonment for impersonation.

The convict was among the suspected Internet fraudsters arrested in the Ogbomosho area of Oyo State on October 26, 2021, during sting operations by the Ilorin Zonal Command of the EFCC.

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Emmanuel, in his various chats, claimed to be a contractor and businessman based in the US, a decoy he employed to swindle his victims.

The charge against him read, “That you, Taiwo Oluwapelumi Emmanuel, sometime between February and March 2021, at Ogbomosho, within the judicial division of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, did fraudulently impersonate one David Williams George, an American, with the intent to gain advantage for yourself from one Mindy, whom you chatted vide your created Gmail account, [email protected], thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 22(2) (b) (I) of the Cybercrime Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) (iv) of the same Act.”

The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge.

Based on his guilty plea, counsel for the EFCC, Andrew Akoja, reviewed the facts of the case and tendered one iPhone X, one Lenovo laptop and the extra-judicial statement of the defendant as well as fraudulent messages printed from his device, which were admitted in evidence.

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Akoja thereafter urged the court to convict the defendant as charged.

In his judgment, Justice Sani said the court was satisfied with the evidence and pronounced Emmanuel guilty of the charge.

“The judge sentenced the defendant to six months’ imprisonment with an option of N200,000 fine and ordered that the iPhone X and Lenovo laptop, which he used to perpetrate the crime, be forfeited to the Federal Government,” a statement by the anti-graft agency said.

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