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Nigerian Scammer Woodberry Loses Assets and Receives Eight-Year Prison Sentence in US

July 12, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a significant development, Olalekan Ponle, famously known as Woodberry, a notorious Nigerian online scammer, has lost all his known assets to the United States government. Woodberry was sentenced to eight years and four months in jail by Judge Robert Gentleman of the US District Court for Northern Illinois, after pleading guilty to defrauding multiple companies of over $8 million in less than a year. The court ruling also includes the forfeiture of his luxury cars, Rolex watches, gold jewelry, and cash in Emirati dirhams.

Woodberry’s sentence is a reduced term from the proposed 14 years suggested by US prosecutors, but it does not allow for supervised release, ensuring he serves the full duration of his sentence. Upon completing his jail time and reimbursing the victims for their losses, Woodberry will be deported to Nigeria without any remaining assets.

Woodberry, known as an associate of fellow Nigerian fraudster Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, was apprehended in Dubai last year for orchestrating extensive international online scams involving Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes. The fraudulent activities involved unauthorized access to email accounts of various companies, deceiving others into making payments into designated accounts.

In a sentencing memorandum submitted to the court, US prosecutors outlined Woodberry’s involvement in BECs conducted overseas, where he used money mules within the US to conceal his identity. The prosecution described his participation in “significant BEC frauds, causing millions of dollars in losses and tens of millions of dollars in attempted losses to victim companies.”

Initially claiming innocence for over two years, Woodberry eventually reversed his stance and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud during a change of plea hearing in April. The court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES reveal this change in plea.

Woodberry’s sentencing marks another significant outcome in the pursuit of justice against cybercriminals, highlighting the ongoing efforts to combat online scams and protect businesses and individuals from financial fraud.

 

Source: Premium Times

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