The Federal High Court in Kaduna has ordered the remand of Collins Samuel, who allegedly scammed the American State of Virginia of the sum of $8000 under the guise that he was an American citizen.
The spokesperson for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Thursday that the trial judge, P. Mallong, ordered the defendant to be remanded in the commission’s custody.
The judge issued the remand order following Samuel’s arraignment by the EFCC on one count of impersonation and obtaining under false pretence.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The commission stated the defendant was arrested in Jos, Plateau State, “where he fraudulently represented himself as Ashley Coopper, an American citizen affected by Coronavirus (COVID–19), and obtained $8,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) from Virginia, United States.”
“Investigation revealed that Samuel redeemed the $8,000 benefit through bitcoin wallet addresses he got from various cryptocurrency traders,” the statement added.
The charge reads, “that you Samuel sometime in February 2021 in Jos, Plateau State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did commit an offence to wit; impersonation when you fraudulently held yourself as one Ashley Cooper, a citizen of the United States of America and through that identity you applied and received a total sum of $8,000 (United State Dollars) from the State of Virginia as ” Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ) with the intent to gain an advantage for yourself and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) (1) and (ii) of the Cyber Crime ( Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015.”
The judge adjourned the case till 22 March for the hearing of the defendant’s bail application.
In a related development, the commission also stated that Precious Musa was arraigned before the judge on three counts of internet-related fraud on Thursday.