Thursday, Oct 1st 2020 4:05 AM

Market Digest Nigeria


U.S. court dismisses fraud case against Woodberry


A United States court has dismissed the multi-million dollar internet fraud case against Olalekan Ponle, aka Woodberry.


Woodberry was arrested alongside Ramon Abbas (Hushpuppi) in Dubai on June 10 following multiple raids by the city’s police.

Both men and their accomplices were then extradited to the United States on July 2 for prosecution.

The U.S government filed a motion through its attorney, John R. Lausch, requesting that the case against Ponle be dismissed without prejudice.

“Counsel for the government has spoken with counsel for the defendant and defendant’s counsel has no objection to this motion. Respectfully submitted,” Lausch stated.

He said it is in pursuant with Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 48, which states that the government may, with leave of court, dismiss an indictment, information, or complaint.

Also, the government may not dismiss the prosecution during trial without the defendant’s consent.

A court order issued by Judge Robert W. Gettleman on Tuesday, said the government’s motion to dismiss complaint without prejudice was granted.

“Without objection the complaint against defendant Ponle is dismissed without prejudice. Motion presentment hearing set for 7/23/2020 is stricken,” Gettleman ruled.

When a case is dismissed with prejudice, it is over and done with, once and for all, and can’t be brought back to court.

However, when it is dismissed without prejudice, like in the case of Ponle, the dismissal is temporary as the prosecutor can refile the case within a certain period of time.

The probable causes of dismissal ranges from unavailability of sufficient evidence, an improper criminal complaint or charging document, to loss of evidence necessary to prove the defendant committed the crime.

While the reason for the dismissal against Ponle is yet to be given, there are indications that the prosecutor will re-file a case against him.

Woodberry is yet to be released from detention at the time of this report.

According to the complaint against Woodberry, an unnamed Chicago company was tricked into sending wire transfers totalling $15.2 million to him.

Companies based in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California were also victims of the fraud, prosecutors say.

The 29-year-old was facing charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy at a United States District Court in Illinois.

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