US Court sends Hushpuppi’s friend, Woodberry to prison

A United States District Court has sentenced Jacob Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, to eight years and three months in prison for multimillion-dollar fraud.

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

Seven other counts were dismissed following a plea bargain in April. The convict is now expected to surrender to U.S. Marshal Service for onward transfer to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, where his family members, especially his American fiancée, would be allowed to visit him.

After serving out his prison sentence, he will be deported and will pay seven victims about $8 million in restitution. The court discovered that he has the capacity to make the full payment but waived all interests on the restitution value.

Prosecutors who discovered that he had 152 bitcoins, had sought for the court’s permission to sell it 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 Woodberry’s sentencing.

He is expected to forfeit items in the Dubai police custody, such as one Rolls Royce, Lamborghini Urus, Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG G55, four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, and three Audemars Piguet watches.

Woodberry 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.

Credible News reports that Hushpuppi and Woodberry were arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on June 10, 2020, for extensive international online fraud and were transported to the US for separate trials.

Although Hushpuppi initially denied all charges, he later changed his plea and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment in November 2022.

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