Hushpuppi’s ally, Woodberry, pleads guilty to fraud charge in US

Olalekan Ponle, better known as Woodberry, has pleaded guilty to a fraud charge at a United States district court.

The district court for Northern Illinois has set 11 July for his sentencing.

Woodberry is well-known to be an ally of another Nigerian international fraudster, Ramon Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, who was jailed last year.

The two men were arrested for extensive international online scams in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on 10 June 2020, and were flown to the United States to face separate trials.

Hushpuppi, who initially pleaded not guilty, changed his plea to guilty in April 2021, just before a full-blown trial was to begin.

The US district court for Central California where prosecutors charged him jailed him for 11 years and ordered him to pay $1.7 million restitution in November 2022.

Mr Ponle, accused of defrauding a US company of about $188,000, similarly maintained his innocence for over two years. But he made a U-turn to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud during a change of plea hearing at the US District Court for Northern Illinois this April.

The judge, Robert Gettleman, accepted the defendant’s change of plea in a ruling delivered on 6 April.

He set 11 July for sentencing after accepting the plea agreement Woodberry entered into with US prosecutors.

The judge referred the case to the Probation Department for a pre-sentence investigation and report, which would guide his decision on the appropriate sentence to impose.

He gave the US government 60 days before the sentencing date to provide the Probation Office and the courtroom deputy a list of victims and their full current contact information to obtain the court’s order of restitution.

“The list shall include any amounts subject to restitution. If the Government is not able to provide the full victim list 60 days before sentencing, they shall file a motion to request an extension of time to compile the information,” the judge added.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.