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Court remands American over alleged $565,000 fraud



An American national, Marco Antonio Ramirez, was yesterday remanded in prison by an Ikeja High Court for allegedly defrauding three Nigerians of $565,000.The defendant who acted as the Managing Director of three firms, USA Now Plc, Eagleford Instalodge Group and USA Now Energy Capital, pleaded not guilty to a 16-count charge of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to the EFCC prosecutor, V.O Aigboje, Ramirez committed the offences between February and August 2013. He was accused of allegedly collecting $10,000 from one Olukayode Sodimu under the pretext of facilitating an American Green Card with the U.S. Immigration Services.

The American was further accused of fraudulently obtaining $10,000 from one Abubakar Umar through a fictitious investment program in the U.S. in order for the latter to be eligible for a US green card.

Ramirez was also accused by the EFCC of also collecting $545,000 from one Ambassador Godson Echejue under the pretext that the money was meant for investing in his company Eagle Ford Limited in order to facilitate procuring of a US green card.

The EFCC prosecutor prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody, pending trial.Ramirez’s counsel, Chukwudi Maduka, asked the court to remand his client in EFCC custody as against Ikoyi or Kirikiri Prisons.

He further argued that they had just received the charge and that they needed time to file a bail application, while also notifying the court that Ramirez was already on administrative bail in the EFCC Abuja office where he is also facing fraud charges.

The prosecutor however informed the court that they were out of bed space at the EFCC detention center.The presiding judge, Justice Josephine Oyefeso alternatively remanded Ramirez in Kirikiri prisons and adjourned the matter till July 3 for hearing of the bail application.

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