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Saturday, 29 October 2022

$20m Fraud: US Court sentences Allen Onyema’s alleged conspirator to three years probation





A United States court on Friday sentenced a self-confessed conspirator in the alleged $20 million fraud allegedly organised by Air Peace CEO, Allen Onyema, to three years probation.

The court also awarded $4,000 as a fine against Ebony Mayfiled, who, in June, pleaded guilty to the charge of signing and submitting fake documents to facilitate the alleged fraud.

The US government accused her of signing and submitting the fabricated documents between 2016 and 2018, to help Mr Onyema, owner of Air Peace, a major Nigerian commercial airline, to move $20 million from Nigeria to the US in an alleged money laundering scheme.

She was charged in 2019, and she initially pleaded “not guilty” to all eight charges at the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta.

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But she changed her plea to plead guilty to one of the charges in June, after entering into a plea agreement that saw the US government drop the seven remaining charges against her.

READ ALSO $20m Fraud: Air Peace founder Allen Onyema’s co-conspirator to be sentenced October 28 – US Court

The law under which she was charged provided for maximum five years jail term for the offence she pleaded guilty to.

Following her guilty plea, her lawyer filed for a variance of sentence on 13 October, begging to be sentenced to a probated sentence or what is called supervised release, instead of imprisonment.

The US government, reportedly earlier, in its response agreed to a lower limit of sentence range, which includes house detention for six months.

At the sentencing on Friday, the judge, Eleanor Ross, after discussing the pre-sentence report with lawyers to the parties, and listening to Ms Mayfield briefly, imposed “a total of THREE (3) YEARS of probation” on her.

Source Premium Times

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Friday, 21 October 2022

$20m Fraud: Air Peace founder Allen Onyema’s co-conspirator to be sentenced October 28 – US Court



The fraud allegedly spearheaded by Mr Onyema was allegedly perpetrated under the guise of obtaining credit to buy aircraft for Air Peace, a frontline Nigerian airline, in the U.S.

AUnited States court has set 28 October for the sentencing of Ebony Mayfield, a co-conspirator in an alleged $20 million fraud involving the founder of Air Peace, Allen Onyema.

Ms Mayfield, accused of helping Mr Onyema to sign fake documents to facilitate a fraudulent $20 million loan, had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge on 29 June.

The trial judge, Eleanor Ross, of the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, in Atlanta, has now fixed 28 October for her sentencing, a court notice, according to Premium Times.

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The fraud allegedly spearheaded by Mr Onyema was allegedly perpetrated under the guise of obtaining credit to buy aircraft for Air Peace, a frontline Nigerian airline, in the U.S.

Ms Mayfield was accused of helping Mr Onyema to facilitate the $20 million bank fraud between May 2016 and February 2018 when she worked as the manager for Springfield Aviation Company LLC, owned by the Air Peace founder.

U.S. prosecutors accused her of signing and submitting false documents used by Mr Onyema to perpetrate the bank fraud in the U.S.

Mr Onyema and Air Peace Limited’s Head of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, also face 36 charges at the U.S. court in connection with the alleged fraudulent scheme.

But they have yet to show up or send a lawyer to represent them in court.

Trial

Ms Mayfield, who was arrested on 7 June 2019, for her alleged roles in the alleged scheme, had previously pleaded not guilty to all eight charges filed against her in December 2019.

Her trial was, in March this year, rescheduled to start on August 8.

But weeks before the trial date, she changed her plea from not guilty to guilty when she appeared before the trial judge on 29 June to plead guilty.

Ms Mayfield pleaded guilty to one of the eight counts filed against her by the U.S. government.

A copy of the plea agreement she and her lawyer signed with U.S. prosecutors shows she specifically pleaded guilty to Count 5, which is a conspiracy to commit credit application fraud.

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5-year jail term and other penalties

She risks up to five years of jail term based on the plea agreement.

Five years imprisonment is the maximum jail term provided for in Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, under which she was charged with the offence in Count 5.

Aside from the risk of a maximum five years jail term she faces, the plea agreement also recommends she be fined $250,000, or twice the gain or twice the loss whichever is greatest. The fine is due and payable immediately.

She will also make full restitution due and payable immediately to all victims of the offence(s) and relevant conduct.

The plea agreement also recommends the forfeiture of any and all proceeds from the commission of the offence and any and all property used or intended to be used to facilitate the offence.

She will be subjected to a mandatory special assessment of $100, due and payable immediately.

She also, by pleading guilty, gave up the right to plead not guilty, the right to be tried by a jury, and the right to appeal against her conviction.

If she is not a U.S. citizen, she stands the risk of being expelled from the country after completing her jail term.

Alleged fraud

Between November 2016 and October 2017, prosecutors said, Mr Onyema applied for export letters of credit to causing the transfer of funds from a Nigerian bank account for Air Peace to Springfield Aviation’s bank account, “purportedly to fund the purchase of aircraft by Air Peace from Springfield Aviation”.

Both the Air Peace purportedly seeking to buy the aircraft and the Springfield Aviation, the purported seller, belong to Mr Onyema.

Springfield Aviation, according to court documents, was established by Mr Onyema in the U.S. State of Georgia in April 2016 purportedly to specialise in “the wholesaling, trading/ and sale of commercial aircraft and parts”.

The US government says Ms Mayfield was recruited as a manager of Springfield Aviation with the role of entering into aviation-related contracts on behalf of the firm, despite her lack of education, training, or licensing in the review and valuation of aircraft, including aircraft components.

The charge against the defendants says the aircraft that was referenced in each of the export letters of credit provided to obtain the $ 20 million credit from a Nigerian bank, was never owned or sold by Springfield Aviation.

Source: PREMIUM TIMES

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Monday, 17 October 2022

Labour Party Senatorial Candidate, Linus Okorie Arrested over ‘drug-related matter’ in Ebonyi






The Ebonyi State Police Command says it has arrested Linus Okorie, the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Ebonyi south.

Spokesperson of the state command, Chris Anyanwu, in a statement on Monday, said Okorie was arrested and not abducted as speculated.

He said Okorie, a former member of the House of Representatives, was arrested over drug-related matters and several other offences.

“Sequel to initial viral rumours renting the air, cum a Press Release accredited to one Dr David Ogbonna of Linus Okorie CaringHeart Foundation, purporting that the former member of House of Representatives, was abducted on Sunday,” the statement reads.

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“The State Police Command swung into action and later traced the said Okorie, who had evaded many Police arrests/invitations, to the head office of the Ebubeagu Security Outfit at the Old Government House.

“Police detectives were briefed on why he was arrested which includes; his activities and utterances that incited and provoked the violence that engulfed Onicha Community which led to suspected gunmen to unleash mayhem in the area in 2021.

“Hence, the case has now been taken over by the Police Command for a scrupulous investigation.

Secondly, Okorie was severally invited by the Security and Intelligence Bureau of the Command over a petition dated, March 23, authored by the State’s Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, alleging that he was spreading fake news against Gov Dave Umahi.

“When invited by the SIB over the false allegations/petition, Okorie in his characteristic pompous manner refused vehemently to report. Rather he chose to file fallacious suits against the Police Command.

“It is also pertinent to mention that Okorie also have a pending case in which he is implicated in a drug-related offence where the suspects purported to be his agents were arrested for Hard drug sales and use at his City Hub Inn, Mile 50, Abakaliki,” the Spokesman stated.

The lawmaker is contesting for the same senate seat as Dave Umahi, governor of the state.

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Wednesday, 12 October 2022

EFCC to arraign former Lagos Commissioner, Supo Shasore over money laundering



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed money laundering charges against a former Attorney-General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Supo Shasore.

Sashore was Lagos AG from 2007 to 2011.

The charges which were filed before the Federal High Court, Lagos was signed by one of the EFCC’s lawyers, Bala Sanga.

The court has fixed the arraignment of the former Lagos AG for October 20 before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.

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Count one of the charge sheet said that Shasore on or about November 18, 2014 induced one Olufolakemi Adetore, in accepting cash payment of the sum of $100,000 without going through a financial institution.

In count two, Shasore was alleged to have made cash payment of the sum of $100,000 to Olufolakemi Adelore through Auwalu Habu and Wole Aboderin.

In counts three and four, the former Lagos AG was said to have induced and also made cash payment of the sum of $100,000 to one Ikechukwu Oguine without going through a financial institution.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the sums which exceed the amount permitted by law constitute an offence contrary to sections 78(c); 1(a) and 16(1)(d) and 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16(6) and 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.

Supo Shasore (SAN) was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, during the tenure of Babatunde Fashola as Governor of Lagos State.

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Monday, 10 October 2022

Drug lord bags seven-year-imprisonment as NDLEA seizes N1b worth of tramadol

 





Anotorious drug dealer in Alaba Rago area of Ojo, Lagos, Alhaji Surajo Mohammed, has been convicted and sentenced to seven-year imprisonment by a Federal High Court in Lagos presided over by Justice Yellin Dogoro.

Spokesman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Femi Babafemi, who made this known in a statement on Sunday said the conviction came 10 months months after his arrest.

Babafemi said Mohammed was arrested by operatives of the agency with 941.15kgs cannabis on Monday 20th December 2021 and arraigned in court in charge number FHC/L/370c/2021.

However, in judgment delivered last Thursday, the Judge however gave the convict an option of N7m fine, Babafemi revealed.

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He also said desperate attempts by the Tramadol drug cartel to smuggle in over 2, 465, 000 tablets of the pharmaceutical opioid through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos have been foiled by operatives of the NDLEA.

He said the drugs which were in 225mg and 250mg weighed 2,356kg and had an estimated street value of N1, 040, 000, 000.

Babafemi said the seizure of the drug on Friday 7th October came barely a week after about 13.5million pills of the same opioid worth over N8.8billion were recovered by NDLEA operatives from one of the mansions of a billionaire drug baron in the highbrow residential estate, Victoria Garden City, VGC, Lekki Lagos.

The statement reads: “Following credible intelligence, the Agency had shown interest in the consignment of 52 cartons that came into Nigeria from Karachi, Pakistan with six different airway bills via Ethiopian Airline flight, comprising seven cartons of 250mg of a brand called tamral and 45 cartons of 225mg, branded as tramaking. Soon after its arrival at the Lagos airport, the NDLEA called for a joint examination of the consignment with other stakeholders and after its information was confirmed by all, the 52 cartons of the seized substance which are above the recommended threshold for medical use and banned in the country, were moved to the Agency’s facility.

“In the same vein, another bid to export through the airport 15 parcels of cannabis and 600grams of tramadol 225mg concealed in a sack of crayfish to Dubai, UAE was equally thwarted by operatives who seized the consignment and subsequently arrested a freight agent, Osahor Alex Ekwueme, who presented it for export.

“Weeks after NDLEA operatives intercepted 5.20kgs of cannabis concealed in kegs of palm oil going to Dubai at the NAHCO export shed of the airport, the brain behind the consignment, Ifeanyi Egbuwaohia, has been arrested in Igando area of Lagos. Though Ifeanyi works as a technician at Computer Village, Ikeja but beneath his known business he also works with a drug network in Dubai, where he sends illicit drugs for distribution. Few hours after his arrest, another consignment of 2.60kgs of the same substance sent by him for export to Dubai was also intercepted by operatives at the airport.

“Another consignment of 1.30kgs of cannabis concealed in reconstructed engine blocks going to Dubai have also been seized at the SAHCO export shed while two persons: Olatunji Kehinde Temiola and Osemojoye Femi Sunday have been arrested in connection to the bid.

“Meanwhile, In Kaduna state, a female drug dealer, Peace Ayuba, was on Friday 7th October arrested at Kakau Gonin Gora with seventy eight (78) bags of cannabis sativa weighing 849.5kgs, while operatives in Sokoto state arrested Onyeka Owo, 28, with 443 bottles of codeine based syrup.

“While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Kaduna, Sokoto and Lagos commands for the feats, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) urged them and their compatriots across the country to remain steadfast, resolute and unrelenting until the last gram of illicit drugs is taken away from the streets of Nigeria.”

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