Saturday, September 25, 2021

New U.S. prosecutor takes over Mr Woodberry’s multimillion-dollar fraud trial

A new U.S. prosecutor has been assigned to take over the multimillion-dollar fraud case involving Olalekan Ponle, aka ‘Woodberry’.

• September 8, 2021

A new U.S. prosecutor has been assigned to take over the multimillion-dollar fraud case involving Olalekan Ponle, aka ‘Woodberry’.

Court documents from the Northern District of Illinois showed that John R. Lausch, Jr would take over future proceedings of Woodberry’s case from Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Wells of the Northern District of Illinois.

Woodberry’s last court date was before Judge Robert W. Gettleman in August, when his lawyers Michael Nash and Tom Durkin applied for an extension to file pre-trial motions.

The next session is set for November 4.

Mr Ponle had been arraigned on a separate charge in Chicago in July. He was arrested in Dubai alongside Hushpuppi and charged in a U.S. District Court in Chicago with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

In July, the U.S government applied for a motion of dismissal without prejudice granted by Mr Gettleman.

A complaint had accused Mr Ponle of orchestrating “business email compromise” schemes to defraud several U.S.-based companies.

The court documents stated that “the schemes resulted in attempted or actual losses to victim companies in the tens of millions of dollars, including a Chicago-based company that was defrauded into sending wire transfers totalling $15.2 million.”

The jury’s eight-count charge of wire fraud still holds, meaning Mr Ponle stands to forfeit, to the U.S. government, any property derived from proceeds in his offences.

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