Woodberry: US court dismisses fraud case


A United States court has dismissed the multi-million dollar fraud case against Nigerian Olalekan Ponle alias Woodberry.

Mr Ponle was arrested alongside Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 for multiple fraud charges. They were extradited to the US on July 2.

Prosecutors said Ponle tricked unnamed companies in Chicago, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California into sending wire transfers totalling $15.2 million.

Consequently, charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy were filed at a United States District Court in Illinois.

A grand jury had indicted Ponle summing up the allegations against him to an eight-count charge of wire fraud which violates section 1343 of the United States Codes.

But on Monday, the US government filed a motion through an attorney John Lausch requesting that the case against Ponle should be dismissed without prejudice.

“Counsel for the government has spoken with counsel for the defendant and defendant’s counsel has no objection to this motion. Respectfully submitted,” Mr Lausch stated.

Judge Robert Gettleman on Tuesday granted the motion. “Without objection the complaint against defendant Ponle is dismissed without prejudice. Motion presentment hearing set for 7/23/2020 is stricken,” the judge ruled.

The dismissal of a case without prejudice, like in the case of Ponle, means it is temporary as the prosecutor can refile the case within a certain period of time.

Likely causes of such motions are unavailability of sufficient evidence, improper criminal complaint or charging document and loss of crucial evidence.

Ponle is yet to be released from detention at the time of this report.