A High Court sitting in Akure, Ondo State capital has sentenced one Mike Atelemo to 17 years imprisonment for defrauding some persons the sum of N42.4m between between June 2017 and May 2018.
Atelemo was said to have cajoled and deceived the people to invest a Federal Government Empowerment Scheme with a promise huge returns at the end of the month.
The convict who committed the offence at Ode Irele in Irele local government area of the state reportedly ran away from the town after collecting the money.
He was said to have opened an office at No 23, Olabanji Street, Iluyemi shopping complex, Ode Irele, while he also branded a Highlander SUV to deceive the people
Atelemo was however arrested in Delta State after his victims petition the Department of State Security (DSS) and subsequently charged to court on a 14- count charge bothering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretense to impersonation.
The convict who pleaded not guilty to the charges but informed the court that the idea to float a Cooperative society was sold to him by a Pastor in Warri, Delta State.
A total of 12 witnesses were called to testify and narrated how they were paid interest in their first investment but lost all their monies when they decided to invest with more capital.
Trial judge Justice Samuel Bola, in his judgment held that Atelemo did not deny obtaining the money from the complainants even with the claim of operating a cooperative society.
Justice Bola noted that the convict did not open any account for the Cooperative Society and that the monies sent to him were lodged in his personal account.
The Judge ruled that the project was not a cooperative but a phoney empowerment scheme made to appear credible with the tag “Federal Government scheme”.
He however sentenced the accused to seven years imprisonment for conspiracy, seven years for obtaining money under false pretense and three years for impersonation.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
Justice Bola also ordered Atelemo to pay the victims all the sums of money due to them.