Justice Mohammed Sanni of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has remanded a suspected fraudster, Oghenekevwe Innocent Akinnawo (a.k.a Rodriguez Filiberto, Richard Welburn and Scott Mendez) in prison custody, following his arraignment on Thursday , March 7, 2019 on a seven- count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of $1, 138,000( One Million One Hundred and Thirty Eight Million Dollars)only.
Akinnawo ran into troubles when he was arrested by operatives of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office on alleged fraudulent activities ranging from love scam on numerous dating sites, obtaining money by false pretences and swindling two Americans: Lucille De Mattos and Patricia Hawks on a phony oil shipment deal.
He was docked on the basis of investigation activities that implicated him.
Count One of the charge read: That you Oghenekewe Innocent Akinnawo, ( aka Rodriguez Filiberto, Richard Welburn and Scott Mendez) and Theresa Thornton ( at large) sometimes in February in 2018 at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to do an unlawful act to wit: obtain money under false pretence from one Lucille De Mattos, an American citizen and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and punishable under Section 1( 3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
Count Two read: “That you Oghenekewe Innocent Akinnawo, ( aka Rodriguez Filiberto, Welburn and Scott Mendez and Theresa Thornton ( at large) sometimes in February in 2018 at Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did obtain the the sum of $1,030,000 (One Million and Thirty Thousand Dollars) only from one Lucille De Mattos, an American citizen under the false pretence that the sum was an investment and which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1( 1) (a) and punishable under Section 1( 3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006”.
The defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when read to him.
Prosecution counsel, A. Arogbha told the court that he was ready for trial and prayed for a trial date. However, defence counsel, Reuben Wanogho made an application for bail but could not be heard because Arogbha told the court that he was served the application late and needed time to respond to it.
Justice Sanni thereafter adjourned the matter to March 13, 2019 for the hearing of bail application and remanded the defendant in prison custody.
He also adjourned commencement of trial to April 8 and 11, 2019.
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