Travel agent docked over N1.2m visa fraud

Court

A 54 -year-old fake travel agent, Dele Oguntona, was on Monday charged with allegedly obtaining N1.2 million under false pretences before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

The accused was arraigned on two counts of obtaining money under false pretences and stealing.

Oguntona, who resides at Surulere in Lagos, however, pleaded not guilty and was released on bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum.

The magistrate, O.J. Awope, said that the sureties should be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

The prosecutor, Insp. Emmanuel Ajayi, told the court that the accused committed the offences sometime in March 2015 at Mushin in Lagos State.

Ajayi said that the accused obtained N1.2m from Timothy Oladimeji, while pretending to be a travel agent and could assist him in securing a visa to the United States.

He said, “The accused approached the complainant claiming he was a travel agent when he heard that he needed an agent to help him process a US visa.

“After collecting the money from the complainant, he absconded to an unknown destination.

“Efforts made by the complainant to get the visa or retrieve his money from the accused proved unsuccessful as the accused refused to pick calls from the complainant’s cell phone.

“After three years of searching for the accused, the complainant got information about his whereabouts in Aguda near Surulere.

“He went to the house with the police and the accused was arrested.”

The prosecutor said that the offences violated Sections 287 and 314 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015(revised).

Section 287 stipulates three years’ imprisonment for stealing while Section 314 prescribes 15 years’ jail term for obtaining money under false pretences.

The court adjourned the case until Sept. 29 for mention.

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