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.
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.
Here are some views expressed on Twitter.
This will not appear in the major news in America. But if it were the other way around, yes, it would be on the major discussion table. Africans are the most endangered species on the planet earth. I say it again for emphasis. https://t.co/bJgSLN4MMJ— Richie Whriter (@Richiewhriter) June 24, 2019
He has that kind of money and he still want to get green card. Some people are so dwarf in memory.— Dr Ben (@DrBen42265316) June 21, 2019
Bro we are learning near these guys!!! They are the Bosses of organized crimes— ????? ??? (@_chidi_obi) June 21, 2019
When Bushmeat hunt the Hunter..lol— Classic (@alabastasea) June 21, 2019
This is not a news you hear everyday.— Qora Fashion (@Tesidorth) June 21, 2019
Can we also say he was trying to get back those funds fraudulently taken from his people by our Nigerian and African friends?— oye (@oyekanmmi) June 21, 2019
Haq Haq Haq, bet they’re congratulating him at the White House ?, is if the fraudster was Nigerian, the news will read “Nigerian was arrested for defrauding…….”— 21 Jk(s) (@jhky_) June 21, 2019
We are street smart….but when it comes to visa…our brain go near blank?— Joi (@joidbg) June 21, 2019
Alright, "yahoo" is beginning to switch tables. It's been us taking from them, and now they are about to be the ones taking from us, and when the time comes, we'll be the most vulnerable to fraud.— Olusegun Peters PhD(IV) (@Olusegun_Peters) June 22, 2019