A United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago has sentenced Nigerian Olalekan Ponle, also known as Woodberry, to eight years and three months in prison for orchestrating a multimillion-dollar fraud.
Ponle was sentenced on July 11 by Judge Robert Gettleman, court documents obtained by Peoples Gazette show.
Gettleman said, “The defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a total term of 100 months as to count.”
Gettleman gave Ponle instructions to present himself to the US Marshal Service for transfer to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, where he would be allowed visits from his family members and his American fiancée.
The judge also stated that Ponle will be “surrendered to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for deportation immediately following his incarceration.”
The court determined that the Nigerian-born fraudster had the financial ability to repay the full payment but waived all interest on the restitution value. He will now pay seven victims a total of nearly $8 million in restitution.
On June 29, American prosecutors requested that Woodberry get a 14-year prison term for the fraud he perpetrated between January and September of this year.
The prosecutors also asked the court for permission to sell the fraudster’s 152 bitcoins, but only after giving the public 30 days’ notice so that anyone with a claim might file one. When Woodberry was sentenced, it appeared that no one with a legitimate stake had come forward.
The prosecutors also suggested that Woodberry, who is well known for flaunting his lavish lifestyle on social media, forfeit properties held by the Dubai police, such as a Rolls-Royce, a Lamborghini Urus, a Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG G55, four Rolex watches, a Patek Philippe watch, and three Audemars Piguet watches.
In addition, he must surrender two bank cards, roughly $1,835 in Emirati dirhams, and around $15.45 in South African rands, along with five gold bracelets, two gold bracelet keys, six gold neck chains, one gold and diamond-studded necklace, and one small gold nugget.
Woodberry was taken into custody on June 10, 2020, along with Ramon “Hushpuppi” Abbas, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for computer fraud in the US late last year.