Ex-convict bags 12 years jail term for $1.4m fraud


The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, has convicted and sentenced one Kolawole Erinle, Managing Director of Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, to 12 years imprisonment for defrauding Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, (KCUMB), United States, of about $1.4 million.

This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by the Acting Head, Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Dele Oyewale.

The statement revealed that Erinle was convicted by Justice R.A Oshodi on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct and obtaining money under false pretence.

According to the statement, two of the charges read, “Kolawole Adedayo Erinle and Edward Dada (still at large), sometime in 2019, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to falsely represent yourselves as J.E. Dunn, a local construction company in America, with intent to gain monetary advantage in the sum of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) by creating a fake domain name jedunn.org and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No 14, 2006.

“Kolawole Adedayo Erinle, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited and Edward Dada (still at large) on or about the 3rd day of May 2019, at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, retain the control of $1,410,000 (One Million Four-Hundred and Ten Thousand United States Dollars) in your Access Bank account, which sum you knew to be proceeds of various internet and cybercrime.”

In the course of the trial, prosecution counsel, T.J. Banjo, presented evidence to prove that Erinle was an ex-convict in the US for bank fraud.

Erinle earlier pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, although he admitted that he was indeed an ex-convict in the US, and spent 23 months in prison.

He also expressed a readiness to pay restitution to his victim, saying, “I am sorry.”

Delivering judgment, Justice Oshodi declared the defendant and his company guilty as charged, and also held that the prosecution effectively proved the case against them beyond every reasonable doubt.

Justice Oshodi held that, as argued by the prosecution, Erinle, “spoofed the email address of the financial controller of J.E. Dunn, by faking the domain name of jedunn.com to jedunn.org“, an act which was “premeditated”, so that “when KCUMB was about to pay J.E. Dunn, you provided Bank of America details in the name of E. Dada Autos, and after the wire transfer of $1,412,509.40 into it, in March 2019, you caused the money to be transferred in tranches of $850,000 and $460,000 into the second convict’s account, which you also control”.

The trial judge further hels: “The evidence shows that you transferred the proceeds of your crime to your nominees, including your mother, and your wife, and also acquired vehicles and other properties captured in exhibit P to P1.

“I have considered the prosecution’s submissions that you have a prior conviction for bank fraud in the United States of America, US.

“I have considered the fact that notwithstanding your prison term, which you have confirmed to me as sentencing for 23 months, you have not changed.”

Thereafter, Justice Oshodi sentenced Erinle to five years on count two, and 12 years on count three.

The sentences are to run concurrently from February 10, 2023, when he was remanded by the court.

The company, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, was fined N50 million, and also ordered to be wound up by the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, with the proceeds forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The convicts were also ordered to make restitution to the victim.

The judge further ordered that all the properties and vehicles recovered from them by the EFCC be sold and applied as restitution to the victim through the FBI.

The funds standing to his credit as recovered by the EFCC, and the company, the court added, “shall be applied as restitution for the victim by the FBI; this is without prejudice for the prosecution and the victim to secure a full restitution”.