Jacob Olalekan Ponle, or Mr Woodberry, was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison by a federal judge in the United States for his role in the orchestration of a multimillion-dollar fraud.
According to court records obtained by reporters, Mr Ponle was sentenced on July 11 by Judge Robert Gettleman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.
“The defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a total term of 100 months as to count,” said Mr Gettleman.
Mr Ponle received his sentence after being found guilty on one count of fraud. Following a plea agreement in April, which Naijaloaded previously reported on, seven more offenses were dismissed.
Mr. Gettleman directed Mr. Ponle to surrender to the United States Marshals Service for transfer to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, where his family members, particularly his American fiancée, would be permitted to visit him.
The judge further stated that Mr Ponle will be “surrendered to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for deportation immediately following his incarceration.”
The court determined that the Nigerian-born fraudster has the capacity to repay the full payment but waived all interest on the restitution value, so he will pay around $8 million in reparations to seven victims.
On June 29, American prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Mr Woodberry to 14 years in jail for the fraud he perpetrated between January and September of this year.
The prosecutors also sought court authorization to sell the fraudster’s 152 bitcoins, but only after the public was given 30 days to register claims if they had an interest in the assets. As of the time of Mr Woodberry’s sentencing, no one with a real interest seems to have materialized.
The prosecutors also suggested that Mr Woodberry, who is known for flaunting his extravagant lifestyle on social media, forfeit items in Dubai police custody, including a Rolls Royce, a Lamborghini Urus, a Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG G55, four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, and three Audemars Piguet watches.
He is also required to hand over three gold and diamond-studded rings, five gold bracelets and two gold bracelet keys, six gold neck chains, one gold and diamond-studded necklace, one small gold nugget, two bank cards, roughly $1,835 in Emirati dirhams, and approximately $15.45 in South African rands.
Mr Woodberry was arrested on June 10, 2020, with Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in the United States for computer fraud late last year.