Trial of American for alleged green card fraud stalled

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The trial of an American, Marco Ramirez, who allegedly defrauded three Nigerians of $545,000 in a green card scam, was stalled Thursday at an Ikeja High Court due to the absence of the prosecuting counsel.

At resumed proceedings Thursday, it was revealed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lead prosecutor, Mrs Vera Agboje, had notified the court in a letter that she would be absent in court due to another official engagement.

The trial judge, Justice Josephine Oyefeso acknowledged that Agboje had written to the court ahead of proceedings to inform her that she will be absent.

Responding, the defence counsel, Mr. Ademola Adefolaju, also admitted receiving a letter from the prosecutor.

Adefolaju therefore requested for an adjournment.

Justice Oyefeso granted the request and adjourned the case until May 7 for hearing.

Ramirez is facing a 16-count charge bordering on obtaining under false presences before the court.

He was first arraigned on June 22, 2017.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail in the sum of $250,000 with two sureties in like sum on July 10, 2017.

Ramirez is alleged to be the Managing Director of three companies – USA Now Plc., Eagleford Instalodge Group and USA Now Capital Group.

According to the EFCC, he committed the offences between February 2013 and August 2013 in Lagos.

The American was alleged to have fraudulently received $545,000 from one Amb. Godson Echejue to invest in his company.

EFCC alleged that the plan was to procure an American green card (permanent residence card) for Echejue.

Ramirez also allegedly received $10,000 from one Abubakar Umar through a non-existent investment programme in the U.S. which would make Umar eligible to obtain an American passport.

The EFCC is also accusing Ramirez of illegally receiving $10,000 from one Olukayode Sodimu on the pretext that the funds were facilitation fees with the American Immigration Services for an American Green Card.

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