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Woodberry’s Lawyer Reveals Reason Behind Case Dismissal

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Michael Nash, the Chicago lawyer representing suspected fraudster Olalekan Ponle better known as Woodberry in the United States court, has revealed the reason for the dismissal of the complaints against his client.

Woodberry was facing charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy at a United States District Court sitting in Illinois, after he was arrested at the United Arab Emirate (UAE) on June 10.

According to the complaint against Woodberry, an unnamed Chicago company was tricked into sending wire transfers totaling $15.2 million.

Companies based in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California were also listed as victims of the alleged fraud, prosecutors say.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nabbed the 29-year-old through details accessed from his WhatsApp, iPhone and Bitcoin transactions. He was then extradited to the United States on July 2 alongside accomplice, Hushpuppi.

However, despite being indicted by a grand jury on a eight-count charge of wire fraud, the complaint against Woodberry was dismissed on Tuesday after the United States filed a motion requesting such.

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

This however came as a shock to many Nigerians who wondered the reasons behind the dismissal verdict, despite being indicted by a grand jury.

Speaking with Premium Times on Thursday night, Nash said the case was dismissed because the government charged him with a slightly different crime.

He stated;

The government dismissed the case because it charged him with a slightly different crime. In the long run, no difference.

Nash, however, failed to provide clarifications to what he meant by a ‘slightly different crime’.

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Joseph D. Fitzpatrick who spoke on behalf of the plaintiff also told the publication that although the complaint is dismissed, the grand jury’s indictment is still active.

Fitzpatrick said;

We dismissed the complaint, but the indictment (charging 8 counts of wire fraud) is still active. We cannot comment on the dismissal of the complaint, but I wanted to make sure you knew the indictment is still active. Mr Ponle has now been charged by indictment, instead of being charged by the complaint by FBI.

However, the accused, as at press time, was still in the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

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