In a recent ruling at the Ikeja Special Offences Court, a 25-year-old man, Babatunde Shittu, was sentenced to one year in prison for engaging in and benefiting from a $5,000 cryptocurrency fraud scheme.
Shittu, who had falsely portrayed himself as a cryptocurrency investor and produced fraudulent documents to defraud the public, pleaded guilty to the cryptocurrency fraud charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe handed down the verdict, stating, “Upon the defendant’s guilty plea and admission of the facts, he is hereby convicted of the one-count charge. He is hereby sentenced to one year in prison with the option to pay a N500,000 fine and undertake 40 hours of community service.”
The judge also ordered Shittu to forfeit his iPhone 12 Pro Max and MacBook computer, which were seized from him as proceeds of the crime, to the Federal Government.
Justice Abike-Fadipe noted that Shittu was a first-time offender and, due to his promise to be of good behaviour and make amends, received a relatively lenient sentence.
In response to the verdict, Shittu expressed remorse and said, “I am really sorry; I have realised my mistake, and I am ready to live a better life and become a better person.”
His counsel, Ms. Biola Adeyemi, urged the court to show leniency, emphasising that Shittu was genuinely remorseful and committed to improving his behaviour.
The EFCC counsel, Mr. Abdullahi Gambuwa, requested the court convict Shittu and impose an appropriate sentence. Gambuwa explained that Shittu was arrested by the EFCC based on an intelligence report and had confessed to benefiting from the $5,000 fraud scheme. The prosecution also highlighted that Shittu falsely portrayed himself as a cryptocurrency investor, which misled the public.
The cryptocurrency fraud offence contravenes Section 1 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 2006.