Mfon Obot Es­sien, 27, aka David Morris or Femi James, have been sentenced to 28 years imprisonment by Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, Lagos, for trying to defraud an Ameri­can family, of $7,000 for a fake kidnap of their daughter.

Es­sien pleaded guilty to a six-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence and forg­ery. He was arrested in 2013 fol­lowing a petition written to EFCC by the U.S Department of Homeland Security.

The petition said, “A US fami­ly whose daughter had travelled to Argentina got a call from her boyfriend claiming that they had both been kidnapped and the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $7,000, which should be sent through money transfer to their associates in Nigeria.

Investigation in the US however revealed that the girl was not kidnapped but was under arrest in Argentina for attempting to smuggle cocaine out of that country after being cajoled to do so by her Nigerian boyfriend.

The US authorities then contacted MoneyGram to issue a false money order for $3,000, to enable the arrest of Morris whenever he showed up to receive it” On August 2, 2013, Essien at­tempted to cash the money at the Chevron Lekki Drive branch of Access Bank, but did not suc­ceed.

He tried again the follow­ing day at the Ikota branch of the bank and then returned on Au­gust 5, not knowing that a query had been lodged concerning his transaction. In his next attempt on September 5, 2013 at the same branch, he was arrested.

Justice Ralikat Adebiyi sentenced Essien to a minimum of 7 years each on the first 3 counts, and one and a half year on count four, 3 years each on two counts of forgery, bringing the total to 28 and half years….. bt will only serve 27 years out of it….

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