The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge
The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, November 4, 2021 secured the conviction of one Shitu Labeeb Adebowale, accused of parading as Sheryl Sandberg, a Chief Operative Officer of one of the leading social media platform, Facebook, to swindle unsuspecting victims.
Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court, Ilorin found the defendant guilty of the two count-charge preferred against him by the EFCC, and sentenced him to six months imprisonment.
EFCC Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, made this known in a statement made available to the media.
Count one of the charge reads: ‘’That you, Shitu Labeeb Adebowale (alias Sheryl Sandberg) sometime in May 2021, in Ilorin, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did cheat by personation, when you pretended to be Sheryl Sandberg, a white female, with gmail account email@example.com and fraudulently deceived Peppelon Shell to send the sum of $350 (Three Hundred and Fifty Dollars) to you through steam wallet gift cards and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 321 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 324 of the same Penal Code’’
The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge.
Following his plea, counsel to the EFCC, Innocent Mbachie, drew the attention of the court to plea bargain agreement entered by the defendant.
He also tendered several fraudulent messages printed from the defendant’s email including the phones and laptop used in perpetrating the crime as well as a manager’s cheque (bank draft) of N205,705 (Two Hundred and Five Thousand, Seven Hundred and Five Naira Only), which he raised as restitution to his victims.
Mbachie, thereafter urged the court to consider the plea of guilt entered by the defendant, the plea bargain agreement signed by both parties, the extra-judicial statements of the defendant and the unchallenged testimonies of the prosecution witness to convict the defendant as charged.
Justice Akinpelu held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. Consequently, she pronounced the defendant guilty and sentenced him to a prison term of six months on each count, to run concurrently with option of fine of N150,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira Only) on each count.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the convict’s phone and laptop as well as the manager’s cheque of N205,705 (Two Hundred and Five Thousand, Seven Hundred and Five Naira Only), which he benefited from his unlawful activity to the Federal Government.