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Hushpuppi’s associate, Mr Woodberry pleads guilty to internet fraud; agrees to surrender proceeds

Olalekan Jacob Ponle, better known as Mr Woodberry, has entered a guilty plea 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.

The flamboyant internet fraudster 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 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.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online news platform - Politics, Sport & Entertainment. Prevail Inegbenose hails from Irrua, Esan Central LGA of Edo State. He studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. Prevail Inegbenose is a veteran journalist with 15 years of active and practical journalism. He has authored so many write-ups, a lot of which had been published in the newspapers, magazines and social media. Hence Prevail Inegbenose is a Journalist, Writer, Researcher, Author, Communication Expert and Consultant, Social Media Influencer, Project Management Expert, Peace Ambassador and Advocate of Good Governance and Better Society. He's a Pastor, in fact the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja Nigeria.

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