An American businessman living in Nigeria is facing the country’s laws after a charge of defrauding by false pretense was slapped on him for allegedly defrauding some Nigerians to the tune of $565,000 (about N203.4m).
Marco Ramirez, alongside his companies, USA Now LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA Now Capital Group, have been charged on an amended 12 counts from the initial 16, bordering conspiracy and obtaining under false pretense.
According to reports, Ramirez defrauded Nigerians who were in business with him and his companies, seeking help from them to secure United States Green Cards, all to the tune of $565,000.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claims that in Febraury 2013 and August 2013 in Lagos, Ramirez and his companies defrauded 3 people: Ambassador Godson Echejue, Abubakar Sodiq, and Olukayode Sodimu of the said amount.
The defendant and his companies were first arraigned on June 22, 2017, with 16 counts bordering on the same offences slapped on them. He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and was admitted to bail in the sum of $25,000.
Later, the case file was transferred and Ramirez was re-arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja.
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Counsel for Ramirez, Ademola Adefolaju, after taking his plea, urged the court to allow his client to continue with the bail terms set by the previous judge.
Justice Dada then asked if the defendant had complied with the bail terms, to which his lawyer confirmed that his client had fully complied and goes to the EFCC’s office as directed by the court.
Justice Dada granting his request said, “Having not breached the bail terms granted by my brother judge, the defendant is hereby allowed to continue with the terms.”
Trial is scheduled for October 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2019.
This case has stoked a debate about how a crime allegedly committed by an American in Nigeria is not being covered in international news but would have been a major issue if it was the other way around