An Ondo State High Court has sentenced one Mike Atelemo to 17 years imprisonment for defrauding some persons the sum of N42.4m between June 2017 and May 2018.
The convict was said to have committed the offence at Ode Irele in Irele local government area.
Atelemo was said to have collected money from his victims by urging them to invest in a “Federal Government Empowerment Scheme” with a promise of huge returns at the end of each month.
He reportedly branded a Highlander SUV and opened an office at No 23, Olabanji Street, Iluyemi shopping complex, Ode Irele.
Atelemo who fled to Delta State was arrested and subsequently charged to court after his victims petition the Department of State Security (DSS).
He was charged to court in February 2019 and slammed with a 14- count charge bothering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretense to impersonation but he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A total of 12 witnesses were called to testify and they narrated how they were paid interest in their initial investment but lost all their monies when they decided to put in big money.
In his defence, Atelemo informed the court that the idea to float a cooperative society was sold to him by a Pastor in Warri, Delta State.
Trial judge Justice Samuel Bola, in his judgment held that Atelemo did not deny obtaining the money from the complainants even with the claim of operating a cooperative society.
Justice Bola noted that the convict did not open any account for the Cooperative Society and that the monies sent to him were lodged in his personal account.
The Judge ruled that the project was not a cooperative but a phoney empowerment scheme made to appear credible with the tag “federal government scheme”.
He sentenced Atelemo to seven years imprisonment for conspiracy, seven years for obtaining money under false pretense, and three years for impersonation.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
Justice Bola also ordered Atelemo to pay the victims all the sums of money due to them.