Dubai-based Nigerian bigboy detained in US for multi-million dollar internet fraud, identified as Olalekan Ponle widely known as Woodberry was indicted by the grand jury, a group of lawyers empowered to prosecute and investigate possible criminal offenses.
Mr. Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, alongside Ramoni Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates on June 10 on multiple fraud charges after a raid by members of the Dubai Criminal Unit.
According to the complaint, a Chicago-based corporation was swindled into sending wire transfers totaling $ 15.2 million.
Companies based in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California were also victims of the fraud, prosecutors say
PREMIUM SCHEDULES previously reported how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nabbed Mr. Ponle with details accessible from his WhatsApp, iPhone and Bitcoin transactions. He was extradited to the United States on July 2.
The 29-year-old currently faces borderline wire fraud conspiracy charges in a United States district court in Illinois.
His first court appearance was on July 3, after which the preliminary hearing was set for July 16 before Judge Jeffrey T Gilbert.
Although Mr Ponle appeared in court for his detention and a preliminary hearing on Thursday, PREMIUM TIMES has not yet had access to the outcome of the proceedings at the time of filing this report.
Grand jury report
As obtained by this article, a report of the special grand jury constituted in 2019, which was submitted to the court on Wednesday, indicted Mr. Ponle.
In the US court system, the grand jury listens to the prosecutor and witnesses, then votes in secret to find out whether they believe there is enough evidence to charge the person with a crime.
When a person is indicted, they receive a formal notice that they are believed to have committed a crime. The indictment contains the basic information that informs the person of the charges against them.
The jury summed up the allegations against Woodberry to one charge of eight-count wire fraud, which violates Section 1343 of the United States Codes.
“ANY PERSON, HAVING DESIGNED OR INTENDING TO MANUFACTURE ANY PATTERN OR ARTIFICIAL TO DEFRAUSE, OR TO OBTAIN MONEY OR PROPERTY BY MEANS OF CLAIMS, REPRESENTATIONS OR PROMISES, TRANSMISSIONS OR CAUSES TO BE TRANSMITTED BY WIRE OR FALSE OR FRAUDULENT TELEVISION COMMUNICATION IN INTERSTATE OR FOREIGN TRADE, ANY WRITINGS, SIGNS, SIGNALS, IMAGES OR SOUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXECUTING THIS SYSTEM OR FIREWORKS, ARE CARRIED OUT UNDER THIS TITLE OR IMPRETED FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS OR BOTH . “
In addition, the jury, in its conclusion, stated that, upon conviction, Mr. Ponle would confiscate for the benefit of the United States of America any property which would institute and derive from products traceable to the offense under Title 18. United States Code, Section 981 (IXC) and Title 28, United States Code, Section 24611).
“IF ANY OF THE PROPERTY DESCRIBED ABOVE, AS A RESULT OF ANY ACT OR OMISSION OF A DEFENDANT: CANNOT BE SITUATED IN THE EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE; HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED OR SOLD TO, OR DEPOSITED TO A THIRD PARTY; HAS BEEN PLACED BEYOND THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT; HAS BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY DECREASED IN VALUE; OR HAS BEEN COMBINED WITH OTHER PROPERTY WHICH CANNOT BE DIVIDED WITHOUT DIFFICULTY, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RELEASE OF SUBSTITUTION PROPERTY, AS PROVIDED FOR IN TITLE 21, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 853 (P) ”, THE REPORT FURTHER READ.
Previous reports had indicated that Mr. Ponle would be in the custody of the US Marshal until further orders from the Court.