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U.S Court Dismisses Fraud Case Against Hushpuppi’s Accomplice, Mr Woodberry

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A US court has dismissed a fraud case against a Nigerian accused of cyber-crime, Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Mr Woodberry.

Ponle, who was accused of multi-million dollar wire fraud was arrested alongside his associate, Ramon Abbas popularly known as Hushpuppi on June 10 by a combined team of Dubai police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for multiple fraud charges

Upon their arrest, both Nigerians were extradited to the U.S. on July 2.

Woodberry was accused of tricking a Chicago company into sending wire transfers totaling $15.2 million. Prosecutors disclosed that companies based in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California were also victims of the fraud.

Though the 29-year-old was indicted by a grand jury on an eight-count charge of wire fraud, the United States government on Monday July 20th filed a motion through its attorney John R. Lausch, requesting that the case against him be dismissed without prejudice.

Lausch said;

Counsel for the government has spoken with counsel for the defendant and defendant’s counsel has no objection to this motion. Respectfully submitted.

He added that the request was made in pursuant with Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 48, which states that the government may, with leave of court, dismiss an indictment, information, or complaint.

A court order issued by Judge Robert W. Gettleman on Tuesday July 21, confirmed that the government’s motion to dismiss complaint without prejudice was granted.

Gettleman said;

Without objection the complaint against defendant Ponle is dismissed without prejudice. Motion presentment hearing set for 7/23/2020 is stricken.

Since Woodberry’s case was dismissed without prejudice, it is temporal as the prosecutor can refile the case within a certain period of time.

The probable causes of dismissal range from unavailability of sufficient evidence, an improper criminal complaint or charging document, to loss of evidence necessary to prove the defendant committed the crime.

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