Hushpuppi's associate, Mr Woodberry sentenced to eight years in prison by U.S court

Jacob Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Mr. Woodberry, has been sentenced to eight years and three months in prison for his involvement in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme. 

Mr. Woodberry, who is a known associate of Nigerian fraudster, Hushpuppi, was sentenced on July 11 by Judge Robert Gettleman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, after being convicted on one count of wire fraud.

The case against Mr. Woodberry began in July 2020, when he was arrested alongside Hushpuppi in Dubai, UAE, by the Dubai Police Force and later extradited to the United States. 

The U.S. Department of Justice charged Mr. Woodberry and his co-conspirators with using business email compromise (BEC) schemes to defraud several U.S. companies of millions of dollars.

As part of a plea bargain in April, seven other counts against Mr. Woodberry were dismissed. He is now expected to surrender to the U.S. Marshal Service for onward transfer to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, where he will serve his sentence. After serving his sentence, he will be deported to Nigeria.

In addition to his prison sentence, Mr. Woodberry will pay about $8 million in restitution to seven victims. The court discovered that he has the capacity to make the full payment but waived all interests on the restitution value.

Prosecutors also discovered that Mr. Woodberry had 152 bitcoins and sought the court's permission to sell them off. A 30-day notice was issued to the public for anyone with interest in the assets to file claims, but no one with legitimate interest turned up at the time of Mr. Woodberry’s sentencing.

Mr. Woodberry will also forfeit several items, including luxury vehicles, watches, jewelry, and cash in multiple currencies. The items include one Rolls Royce, Lamborghini Urus, Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG G55, four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, and three Audemars Piguet watches. 

He will also 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, about $1,835 in Emirati dirhams, and approximately $15.45 in South African rands.


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