The arrest of a Nigerian fraudster has brought him to face the consequences of his actions, as he stands accused of duping individuals from 13 different countries. In the trial of Eze Harrison Arinze, the first prosecution witness revealed to Justice J. K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja how Arinze managed to amass $382,000 worth of bitcoins from his unsuspecting victims before his account was eventually blocked by his Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP).

Ogunjobi Olalekan, an officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), took the stand and informed the court that Arinze deceived his victims into withdrawing their funds and depositing them into his Bitcoin accounts under the pretence of engaging in legitimate business transactions.

Arinze was initially arraigned on March 22, 2023, before Justice Omotosho, facing five counts of obtaining by false pretence and money laundering, involving a total sum of $769,263. When the charges were read to him, Arinze pleaded not guilty.

During the trial proceedings, Olalekan shared crucial details with the court, stating, “We requested users on the platform who had deposited cryptocurrency into the defendant’s account, and their names were provided. Around thirty individuals deposited varying amounts of bitcoin into the defendant’s account.” He further explained, “Those identified came from thirteen different countries. The total inflow to his bitcoin wallet address, based on the response, was approximately 15.5 bitcoins valued at around $382,000. The defendant had already withdrawn about 5 bitcoins before the account was blocked.”

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Olalekan went on to disclose that they obtained information on the depositors, including their user identities, locations, deposited amounts at different intervals, and wallet addresses used for the transactions. Additionally, he noted that essential details such as the amount sent, the equivalent value in dollars, and the depositors’ email addresses and transaction identities were also provided.

Out of the 30 depositors identified, Olalekan confirmed that 28 were contacted via their email addresses to establish the purpose behind their various deposits into the defendant’s account and to gather information about “Swiss-Coin, Swiss earning, Swiss coins, and Digitrades Ltd.”

Upon the conclusion of the witness’s testimony, Justice Omotosho adjourned the trial for continuation on June 14, 2023, and ordered the defendant to be remanded in the Kuje Correctional Centre.

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