Internet Fraud Academy Owner Gets 10 Years Jail In Uyo

The Uyo Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured the conviction and sentence of the owner of the Uyo Cybercrime Training Centre, Ikemesit Edet ((aka Hustle Kingdom HK).

He was jailed on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, after pleading guilty to two charges bordering on impersonation, romance fraud, hacking/editing social media accounts and private criminal accompaniment, following his arraignment by the Uyo Zonal Command of the EFCC.

Count one states: That you are IKEMESIT EDET IK sometime in January 2024 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, being the occupant and a person involved in the management of the property located and located at No. 57 D-Line, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo Akwa Ibom State, has knowingly permitted the use of the entire aforesaid property as a CYBERCRIME ACADEMY, also known as Hustle Kingdom (HK), where you can host ten (10) young Nigerians between the ages of 16 and 25 recruited and taught them cybercrime techniques for committing cybercrime, namely: hacking, impersonation and obtaining money under false pretenses (Advance Fee Fraud) thereby committing an offense contrary to Section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offenses Act 2006 and is punishable under section 3 of the same Act.

Count two reads: That you IKEMESIT EDET IK between May 2020 and December 2023 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, took possession of an aggregate amount of only Fifteen Million Naira (-N=15,000,000.00) of which you knew that it arises from an unlawful act wit: Cybercrime and thereby commits an offense contrary to section 18(2)\d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2022 and punishable under section 18(3) of the same Act.

Edet pleaded guilty to both charges imposed on him by the Commission, prompting prosecutor Joshua Abolarin to ask the court to convict him and sentence him accordingly. He also prayed that the court should order the forfeiture of all evidence recovered from him at the time of arrest. However, lawyer Francis Ezike asked the court to sentence the suspect leniently.

After listening to both counsels, Justice Ojukwu convicted Edet and sentenced him to five years in prison for each charge, with an option of a fine of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira) for each charge.

The court also ordered that all recovered evidence from the convict be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The exhibits include: 13 laptops, a gold Toyota Corolla, a Lexus Jeep RX 300 and about 3,080.25 square meters of land located in Ibiaku Obio Ndobo village, Uruan Local Government Area of ​​Akwa Ibom State.

Edet’s journey to the Correctional Center began on January 22, 2024, when investigators from the EFCC office in Uyo acted on intelligence and arrested 10 suspects at his Cybercrimes Training Center at D-Line Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo. All suspects have been brought to trial and convicted.

In a related development, the same court has convicted one Michael Melvin Onyekachi (alias “Raisa Pedroso”) for possessing fraudulent documents.

READ ALSO: Yahaya Bello: Time to review the impunity of immunity

He pleaded ‘guilty’ to the one-count charge brought against him and was immediately sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with the possibility of a fine of N50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira).

The indictment reads as follows: That you, Michael Melvin Oyedikachi, somewhere in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, fraudulently represented yourself as Raise Pedroso on the social media platform Facebook with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offense committed contrary to Section 22 ( 2)(b)(I) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015 and punishable under section 22(2)(b(iv)) of the same Act.

He was sentenced to prison when he was arrested for internet-related fraud. He was brought to trial and convicted.