Mr Woodberry pleads guilty to Internet fraud; agrees to pay $8 million to victims, forfeit luxury Dubai assets
Notorious Internet fraudster, Olalekan Jacob Ponle, alias Mr Woodberry, has entered a plea of guilt with the U.S. authorities, agreeing to surrender $8 million in proceeds of wire fraud as well as luxury cars and watches to the foreign government.
Mr Woodberry, who loved to flaunt his lavish lifestyle on Instagram, had at first pleaded not guilty to the eight-count fraud charge brought against him for engaging in a scheme known as business email compromise (BEC).
However, a plea declaration submitted at the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division on April 6 revealed Mr Woodberry had had a rethink and is now pleading guilty to count one of the indictments.
According to his plea agreement, he was required to repay the $8 million he fraudulently received from the seven companies that fell for his scam.
“Defendant understands that by pleading guilty, he will subject to forfeiture to the United States all right, title, and interest that he has in any property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offence,” stated the document containing Mr Ponle’s signed plea declaration.
Mr Ponle was also asked to waive his rights to the luxury cars, and designer watches he had stashed in Dubai.
The high-end automobiles include Rolls Royce Cullinan with vehicle no J9153, Lamborghini Urus (N4973) and Mercedes-Benz G-class (G68816).
Other items seized are four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, three Audemars Piguet watches, three gold and diamond-studded earrings, and six gold neck chains.
Last year, he had forfeited 151.8 Bitcoin, roughly $6 million, to the American government, determined to recover all stolen monies from the Nigerian fraudster.
Mr Ponle was arrested in Dubai on June 10, 2020, alongside Ramon Hushpuppi Abbas, currently serving an 11-year sentence for a similar fraud charge.
Before his arrest in 2020, Mr Woodberry was known for rocking expensive designer wear and showing off his ill-gotten wealth to his massive Instagram followers, the majority of whom had no inkling his luxury lifestyle was funded by cybercrime.
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