Man bags 5 years for $1.6m Cryptocurrency fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured the conviction and sentencing of Benjamin Ikaa before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

He was sentenced to five years imprisonment for his involvement in $1.6million cryptocurrency fraud.

Ikaa pleaded guilty to one-count amended charge, which reads: “That you Benjamin Ikaa (Alias George; Gavrilovich; P Aleksandra; Aaron Grifin), Chidera Jonas (at large) and Ikaa Ejike Benjamin (at large) on or about December 20, 2022, at Ugbowa Abakpa-Nike, Enugu, Enugu State, within the jurisdiction of this court with intent to defraud, did send electronic messages which materially misrepresent facts in your website, about crypto currency investment to a Monica Garcia upon which she relied and suffered financial loss in the sum of $120,000 and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 14(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention etc.) Act 2015.”

In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, Aso Peter prayed the court to convict him as charged.

However, defence counsel, Abel Adaji, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, stating that the convict has become remorseful and was a first -time offender.

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Justice Nwite convicted and sentenced him to five years imprisonment with an option of fine of N5million. Ikaa also forfeited an iPhone 13, a Toyota Avalon car, 2013 model to the Federal Government.

The $11,000 recovered from him would be returned to his victims. He also wrote an undertaking to steer away from cybercrime henceforth.

Ikaa was arrested by the EFCC for operating a fictitious cryptocurrency investment website,, where he promised mouth-watering returns on investment, resulting in his unsuspecting victims incurring a loss of 26 bitcoins as at February 2023.

His victims are from South Africa, Norway, United Kingdom and Barbados.

When confronted with the facts of his fraudulent dealings, he owned up to them.

He was, thereafter, prosecuted and convicted.

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