On September 15, 2023, Justice O.A. Egwuatu of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, handed down a one-year prison sentence to Ukoh Michael Odeh on a single count of fraud brought against him by the Makurdi Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Odeh found himself in legal trouble when the Command received an intelligence report about the suspicious activities of individuals suspected of internet fraud in Makurdi. He was subsequently apprehended in a sting operation.
The charge against him read: “That you, Ukoh Michael Odeh, between 2022 and 2023 in Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did fail to account for the source of N6,000,000 (Six Million Naira) only in your FCMB account No: 4668442010 when you reasonably ought to have known or suspected that the said unaccounted funds formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity, to wit: Fraud and Money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 20 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, and punishable under Section 20(b) of the same Act.”
He pleaded guilty when the charge was read to him. In light of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, M. Yusuf, requested the court to convict him accordingly.
Justice Egwuatu convicted and sentenced Michael to one year in prison with the option of a N300,000.00 fine. The convict is also required to forfeit N300,000.00 as restitution to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the EFCC.
Furthermore, the convict must surrender an Infinix 7 smartphone, which is proceeds of criminal activity, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.