Justice Emeka Nwite of Federal High Court, Warri, Delta State, on Wednesday sentenced Ochuko Okikifo (a.k.a Claire Grorgr) and King Thank God (a.k.a Frank Lawson) to three years jail term each for criminal impersonation.
The convicts were prosecuted by the Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on separate one-count charge of impersonation, to which they pleaded guilty.
The charge against Okikifo read: “That you, Ochuko Okikifo (a.k.a Claire Grorgr), sometime in 2019 in Sapele, Delta State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did fraudulently impersonate the identity of Claire Grorgr, a German, by sending electronic messages, materially misrepresenting facts to one Laverne Shotwell, which electronic messages she relied on and caused her to suffer a financial loss of $2,000.00 and thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22(2)(b)(iv) of the same Act.”
The count charge against Thank God read: “That you King Thank God (a.k.a Frank Lawson) sometime between 2018 and 2019 at Ugbeyiyi area of Sapele, Delta State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did fraudulently impersonate the identity of Frank Lawson, a white American by sending electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts to one Bonnie Gass, an American woman with a view to cause her to suffer loss and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(2)(b)(i) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention etc) Act 2015 and punishable under section 22(2)(b)(iv) of the same Act.”
Prosecution counsel, Elody Immaculate, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly, while defence counsel, Pascal Ugome urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
Justice Nwite gave Okokifo the option of paying N3million fine and Thank God, N2million in lieu of their prison terms, and ordered that both are to forfeit items recovered from them by the EFCC to the federal government.