Tuesday, 19 April 2016
$2.3 Million Visa scam: American businessman arraigned by EFCC
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned an American businessman, Marco Ramirez, alongside his companies — Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now LLC — on eight counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretences to the tune of $2.3m.
Ramirez was arraigned before Justice Peter Affen of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Maitama on Monday, according to a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren.
According to the complainants, Prince Ejikeme Mgbemena and Frank Egbon, the suspect allegedly promised them that he would invest the money under the Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5).
The complainants further alleged that the suspect promised to provide American Green Card for members of their families below 18 years.
The charges read in part, “That you Marco Anthonio Ramirez, being the Manager of Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA NOW LLC and you EAGLE Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now LLC on or about May 21, 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud obtained through an account titled Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP domiciled at Wells Fargo Bank USA the sum of $55,000 from one Ejikeme Mgbemena under the pretext of investing for him under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) Regional Center Program with pretence you knew was false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.’’
The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Samuel A. Ugwuegbulam, asked the court for a date for trial.
Consequently, Justice Affen adjourned the case till May 21, 2016 for the hearing of bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded in the EFCC custody.