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Court convicts P2P crypto trader over pig-butchering scam in Lagos



Bitcoin trading taking over financial market

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday, October 6, 2023, convicted Lawrence Success Karinate, a peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto trader, for computer-related fraud.

Karinate was prosecuted by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a one-count charge bordering on cybercrime, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, etc.) Act, 2015.

The count reads: “That you, Success Lawrence Karinate, sometime in 2023, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court,with intent to defraud, fraudulently held out yourself on social media platforms, as a female, bearing the name “Jessie Randall”, a fashion influencer, to unsuspecting members of the public, with intent to gain advantage for yourself, and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 22(2)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, etc.) Act, 2015.”

He pleaded “guilty” to the one-count charge preferred against him.

Following his guilty plea, counsel to the EFCC, Usman Abubakar Ahmad, called a witness, Taiwo Owolabi, an operative of the EFCC,to review the facts of the matter. Owolabi said the defendant, along with others, was arrested in the Lekki area of Lagos State on May 26, 2023.

“Upon his arrest, he was brought to the EFCC office, where his iPhone and HP computer were analyzed. He made a restitution of N100,000 after fraudulent documents were printed on his devices. He was further interrogated and admitted to having engaged in a pig-butchering scam and benefiting from the sum of $2000 (two thousand United States dollars).

A pig butchering scam is a type of fraud in which criminals lure victims into digital relationships to build trust before convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency platforms.

Usman, therefore, applied to tender, in evidence, the defendant’s extra-judicial statement, fraudulent documents printed out from his iPhone and laptop computer, as well as the management check issued by him. Justice Oweibo admitted them as exhibits A, B, C, D, and E, respectively, and convicted him as charged.

In his allocutus, Karinate expressed regret for his involvement in the criminal activity and assured the court that he would never engage in internet fraud again.

His counsel, Chikezie Kingsley, prayed to the court for mercy, stressing that the defendant was a first-term offender.

In his judgement, Justice Oweibo sentenced him to a fine of N200,000 (two hundred thousand naira).

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