Invictus Obi faces charges over wire fraud
There have been a few things that happened in Nigeria this year that had shaken the internet as the arrest of 32-year-old billionaire Invictus Obinwanne for wire fraud.
Invictus was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI on Friday in the US for allegedly stealing from unsuspecting Americans up to $11 million, about N3.9 billion, mostly through an email scam.
The question many are asking now is, what next? If convicted, how long is he likely to spend in jail? How much of his wealth is he likely to forfeit to the authorities, etc?
Well, in Nigeria, Obinwanne could be looking at a possible 5-year jail term, because under the Cybercrime Act 2015, Internet fraudsters are liable to a fine of up to N10 million or a term of imprisonment of 5 years, if convicted.
However, a person convicted of wire fraud faces significant potential penalties in the US.
“A single act of wire fraud can result in fines and up to 20 years in prison. However, if the wire fraud scheme affects a financial institution or is connected to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, the potential penalties are fines of up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in prison,” according to criminaldefencelawyer.com.
You see, wire fraud is a grave offence in the US because American businesses suffer staggering losses every year through that form of fraud.
According to FBI figures cited by the Washington Post, victims of such scams reported $275 million in losses in 2015. By 2017, reported losses had more than doubled, to $675 million. And in the first quarter of 2018, more than 4,000 victims reported $685 million in losses. The bureau estimates American businesses have lost more than $3.7 billion as a result of the schemes.
Over the past 2 years, the FBI had intensified its crackdown on the scheme, leading to the arrest, i June last year, of 74 people across the world, 29 of which, were Nigerians.
Since the Nigerian government is also aggressively cracking down on internet fraud, the FBI is likely to get all necessary corporation, (if any), in Obi’s prosecution. This might be in form of confiscating all assets traced to him in Nigeria to enable him to pay a penalty while also serving the jail term.