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EFCC secures conviction of Peer-to-Peer crypto trader in Lagos

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction of Lawrence Success Karinate, a peer-to-peer crypto trader in Lagos State, over internet-related fraud.

The Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday, October 6, 2023, convicted Karinate, for his involvement in internet-related fraud.

This was disclosed on Monday by the EFCC on its official X handle.

Karinate was charged with cybercrime on a single count by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Lagos Zonal Command, an infraction punishable under Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, etc.) Act, 2015.

The count reads: “That you, Success Lawrence Karinate, sometime in 2023, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, fraudulently held out yourself on social media platforms, as a female, bearing the name “Jessie Randall”, a fashion influencer, to unsuspecting members of the public, with intent to gain advantage for yourself, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, etc.) Act, 2015.”

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The suspect, however, pleaded “guilty” to the one-count charge preferred against him. Following his guilty plea, counsel to the EFCC, Usman Abubakar Ahmad, called a witness, Taiwo Owolabi, an operative of the EFCC, to review the facts of the matter. Owolabi said the defendant, alongside others, was arrested in the Lekki area of Lagos State on May 26, 2023.

“Upon his arrest, he was brought to the EFCC office, where his iPhone and HP computer were analyzed. Fraudulent documents were printed out of his devices, and he made restitution to the tune of N100,000.00 (one hundred thousand naira).

Usman, therefore, applied to tender, in evidence, the defendant’s extra-judicial statement, fraudulent documents printed out from his iPhone and laptop computer, as well as the management check issued by him.

He was questioned further and admitted to participating in a pig-butchering fraud for which he received $2000 (two thousand United States dollars).

The pig butchering scam is a type of deception in which criminals entice victims into digital interactions in order to gain their trust before enticing them to invest in cryptocurrency platforms.

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The presiding judge, Justice Oweibo, admitted them as exhibits A, B, C, and C1, D, and E, respectively and convicted him as charged. In his allocutus, Karinate expressed regret for his involvement in the criminal activity and assured the court that he would never engage in internet fraud again.

Chikezie Kingsley, his counsel, pleaded with the court for leniency, emphasising that the prisoner was a first-time offender.

In his decision, Justice Oweibo fined him N200,000.00 (two hundred thousand naira).

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