Monday, April 15, 2024

Mr Woodberry’s father died before he was born; Dubai police tortured him before FBI arrived, lawyer tells court

In the court documents obtained by The Gazette, the lawyer also stated that Mr Woodberry’s father had died before he was born.

• June 30, 2023

Michael B. Nash, a lawyer of Olalekan Jacob Ponle, better known as Mr Woodberry, has told the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that Dubai police who investigated his client’s wire fraud allegations tortured him while in their custody.

Mr Nash, in the objection to the presentence report and sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors, alleged that the internet fraudster was tortured in Dubai police custody for about 31 days after he was arrested in June 2020.

In the memorandum, federal prosecutors asked a judge to sentence the Instagram personality to 14 years’ imprisonment for wire fraud. They also recommended that Mr Woodberry be ordered to pay restitution of $8,038,214.99 to his victims and forfeit all assets procured with the proceeds of the scam. 

But Mr Nash claimed Dubai police tortured Mr Woodberry during interrogations, adding, “His interrogation and torture continued for about 31 days, until the day before he was delivered to the FBI at the Dubai airport.”

According to court documents obtained by Peoples Gazette, the lawyer also stated that the father of the internet celebrity, known for flaunting his flamboyant lifestyle, had died before he was born.

Describing Mr Woodberry’s childhood as “difficult”, the lawyer said the defendant was also physically abused by an uncle between the ages of four and 10.

“He had an undoubtedly difficult childhood, dealing with a father dying prior to his birth, a stepfather who was also married to another woman at the same time and an uncle who abused him physically with a belt and stick because he was ‘young and dumb.’

“He was raised from age 4 to 10 by that uncle because his mother worked in another state.”

Nonetheless, Mr Nash said the defendant’s life “dramatically” changed after his arrest in June 2020 and has since maintained cordial relationships with his mother and siblings.

The lawyer claimed Mr Woodberry “gave full confessions” and was “truthful” in his interview with federal agents investigating the matter, hence “At the very least, these facts offer over five million good reasons for the court to depart from the guidelines.”

In April, Mr Woodberry pleaded guilty to the eight-count charge against him and agreed to forfeit the proceeds of the numerous wire frauds, which he committed using the name “Mark Kain,” by recruiting at least four money mules while he resided in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Mr Woodberry was arrested on June 10, 2020, alongside Hushpuppi, who was jailed for 11 years in the U.S. for internet fraud.

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