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Bureau De-Change Operator Jailed For 7 Years Over N1.86m Fraud

A  Bureau de Change operator, Mr Ajagbe Omotayo  who made attempts to defraud Grange Schools of N1.86 million is to spend seven years in prison for cheque  cloning and forgery.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of an Ikeja High Court yesterday sentenced Omotayo to 21 years in prison having found him guilty of three counts out of a four count charge offence.

The four count charge bordered on conspiracy, attempt to steal, stealing and forgery. The convicted was convicted on counts one two and four an accordance with criminal laws of Lagos state 2011.

Omotayo, according to an amended information dated January 27, 2014, had approached an Allen, Ikeja Branch of Skye Bank and presented a cloned cheque purportedly issued by the Finance Director of Grange schools, Lagos.

Omotayo was also said to have cloned  the letter head of the school directing the bank to pay the said money to him.

The bank suspecting foul play contacted the school which denied knowing the convict while also adding that the cheque in his possession was forged.

Omotayo was subsequently arrested by the police and the matter was transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where he confessed that it was his accomplice, one Segun Fabiyi who is also currently serving jail a two year jail term  for the same offence, that brought the cheque to him.

Fabiyi had earlier pleaded guilty and entered into plea bargain with the EFCC before the two year term was passed on him by the court.

Omotayo in his defence claimed that a customer who wanted to change $10,000 to  Naira equivalent had issued the cheque in his name.

But while giving evidence before the court, a staff of Skye Bank, Omobolaji Ajayi revealed that an earlier attempt was made to defraud the school of N20 million by an old man who presented a cloned cheque and a later of introduction purportedly issued by the school.

He further stated that when the school was contacted, it was revealed that the cheque was fake and the old man absconded before he could be arrested.

This incident, Ajayi said, made the school more vigilant in monitoring the account.

Handing down her sentence, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye found Akeem guilty of stealing, conspiracy, and altering.

“The defendant is hereby sentenced to 7 years on each of the three counts which would run concurrently from 2013 when the convict was detained in EFCC custody,” the Judge ruled.

Earlier in his allocution, counsel to the convict, Tunde Israel pleaded for leniency urging  the court to temper justice with mercy as the convict was remorseful, and also that his client had been in the EFCC custody.

“He is also the sole bread winner of a polygamous family,” he said.

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