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U.S. prosecutors ask judge to sentence Mr Woodberry over internet fraud

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U.S. prosecutors have requested that Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Mr Woodberry, be sentenced to 14 years in prison and pay $8 million in restitution to the victims.

These prosecutors accuse Woodberry, an internet fraudster, of engaging in various business email compromises (BEC) between January and September 2019, defrauding multiple U.S. companies.

Morris Pasqual, the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, submitted a sentencing recommendation that suggests a prison term of 168 months, emphasizing that it aligns with the objectives outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).

The prosecutors seek restitution of $8,038,214.99 and a special assessment of $100 from Woodberry.

They describe the offense as “serious” and claim that Woodberry, an Instagram celebrity, attempted to inflict further harm on the victims.

In April, Woodberry pleaded guilty to eight charges and agreed to forfeit the proceeds from the wire frauds committed under the alias ‘Mark Kain’. During his residence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Woodberry recruited at least four money mules for his fraudulent activities.

The prosecutors also recommend the forfeiture of assets currently held by the Dubai police, including a Rolls Royce, Lamborghini Urus, Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG G55, four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, and three Audemars Piguet watches.

Woodberry is also expected to forfeit 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, approximately $1,835 in Emirati dirhams, and around $15.45 in South African rands.

The prosecutors further request the forfeiture of approximately 151.85713138 bitcoins, which are deemed to be proceeds traceable to the offense and were transferred to the government on April 14, 2022.

Woodberry was arrested on June 10, 2020, along with his associate Hushpuppi, who received an 11-year prison sentence in the U.S. for internet fraud.

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