Court jails internet fraudster over N8.5 million romance scam

Channels Television  
Updated August 1, 2012

A Lagos State High Court has sentenced Bike John Niye , a 22 year old suspected internet fraudster to one and a half years imprisonment for defrauding Laura Wallmam of Indiana, United States of America the sum of $53,500 (N8.56 million).

Justice A Akinlade slammed the prison term on Mr Niye having found him guilty of the four of obtaining money by false pretense preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to the EFCC investigation, the suspect presented himself to Ms Wallmam as a businessman who operates a ‘moving’ company and needed money to get some of his goods out of storage.

He met Ms Wallmam in a dating site and has been in a relationship with her using a fictitious name, Toby Encore.
Mr Niyi’s journey to prison began on May 27th, 2010 when officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)and DHL Courier Services intercepted a suspicious parcel containing a Teddy Bear and a Blackberry handset sent from the USA by MsWallmam to Mr Niye.

The parcel was examined and it was discovered that it contained the sum of $40,000, a Blackberry handset, and a white lady’s photograph concealed in the Teddy Bear.

The parcel was to be delivered to an address in Alapere, a suburb of Lagos with the name Tobi Encore and a Nigerian phone number also belonging to the same recipient. With the phone number, the convicted fraudster was traced and upon finding him, he was handed over to the EFCC for further investigations.

It was later found that the name Tobi Encore was a fake name and the real was Niye Bike, the operatives also discovered that it was the suspect who instructed the victim to conceal all the items in a teddy bear.

Investigations also revealed that Mr Niye has been receiving various sums of money from the victim via Western Union totaling about US$25,000 before the parcel which finally landed him in jail.

To enable him collect the sent funds via Western Union, the EFCC investigations revealed that Mr Niye obtained a Driver’s license with a forged identity bearing the name Nathan Omarkeh. He usually destroys the identity card after collecting money sent to him.

He has been asked to refund the sum of $48,500 (N7.76 million) as restitution to the victim.