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Hushpuppi’s close associate, Mr Woodberry pleads guilty to cyber fraud, agrees to return $8m to victims

Suspected internet fraudster, Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Mr Woodberry, has settled for a plea deal with the United States, agreeing to surrender $8 million in proceeds of wire fraud.

Peoples Gazette reports that he also agreed to forfeit his luxury cars and watches to the foreign government.

The Instagram influencer who loves to flaunt his wealth online, was charged with wire fraud conspiracy following his arrest in the United Arab Emirates in June 2020 and subsequent extradition to the US.

He was accused of tricking American companies into sending wire transfers worth millions of dollars. Woodberry allegedly targeted firms in California, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and New York, according to prosecutors.

The socialite, who is an associate of notorious fraudster, Hushpuppi, had in the year of his arrest pleaded not guilty to the eight-count charge brought against him.

He was accused of engaging in a scheme termed business email compromise (BEC).

However, a plea declaration submitted at the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division on April 6 revealed Woodberry had a rethink and changed his plea to guilty to count one of the indictments.

In the plea agreement he signed, Ponle was required to repay the $8 million he fraudulently received from the seven companies that were victims.

“Defendant understands that by pleading guilty, he will subject to forfeiture to the United States all right, title, and interest that he has in any property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offence,” read the document containing Ponle’s signed plea declaration.

The court also asked Mr Woodberry to waive his rights to the luxury cars, and expensive wristwatches he bought and stashed in Dubai, UAE.

The exotic vehicles to be forfeited include Rolls Royce Cullinan with vehicle no J9153, Lamborghini Urus (N4973) and Mercedes-Benz G-class (G68816).

The watches seized are four Rolex timepieces, three Audemars Piguet, one Patek Philippe. Other items include; three gold and diamond-studded earrings, and six gold neck chains.