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U.S. court orders Woodberry to serve eight years in prison and be deported to Nigeria

A federal judge in the United States has sentenced Jacob Olalekan Ponle, also known as Woodberry, to eight years and three months in prison for his coordination of a multimillion-dollar fraud.

Mr. Ponle was sentenced on July 11 by Judge Robert Gettleman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, according to court filings.

“The defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a total term of 100 months as to count,” Mr Gettleman said.

Mr. Ponle was sentenced after being convicted on one count of fraud. Seven other counts were dismissed following a plea bargain entered in April.

Mr. Gettleman ordered Mr. Ponle to submit himself to the U.S. Marshal Service for onward transfer to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, where his family members, especially his American fiancée, would be allowed to visit him.

Mr. Ponle will also be “surrendered to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for deportation immediately following his incarceration,” the judge said.

The Nigerian-born fraudster will pay seven victims about $8 million in restitution, with the court finding that he has the capacity to make the full payment but waived all interests on the restitution value.

American prosecutors had on June 29th asked the judge to sentence Woodberry to 14 years in prison for the fraud he committed between January and September 2019.

The prosecutors also sought court permission to sell the fraudster’s 152 Bitcoins, but only after a 30 days’ notice had been issued to the public for anyone with interest in the assets to file claims. No one with legitimate interest appeared to have surfaced as of the time of Woodberry’s sentencing.

The prosecutors also recommended that Mr Woodberry, known for flaunting his flamboyant lifestyle on social media, forfeit items in the Dubai police custody, such as one Rolls Royce, Lamborghini Urus, Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG G55, four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, and three Audemars Piguet watches.

Also, he is to forfeit three gold and diamond-studded rings, five gold bracelets and two gold bracelet keys, six gold neck chains, one gold and diamond-studded necklace, one small gold nugget, two bank cards, about $1,835 in Emirati dirhams, and approximately $15.45 in South African rands.

Woodberry was arrested on June 10, 2020, alongside Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas, who was jailed late last year for 11 years in the U.S. for internet fraud.

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