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Alleged $565,000 scam: American seeks bail variation

By Robert Egbe - The Nation - 17-08-25
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An American, Marco Ramirez, who allegedly defrauded three Nigerians of $565,000 in a United States Green Card scam, has asked a Lagos High Court in Ikeja to vary the terms of his bail.

Last June 22, Ramirez was arraigned for the alleged offence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Josephine Oyefeso.

He pleaded not guilty to a 16-count charge of obtaining $565,000 under false pretence from three Nigerians.

On July 10, Justice Oyefeso granted him $250,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum among other conditions.

One of the sureties, the judge added, should be resident in Lagos, be a director of a reputable company and have landed property in Lagos.

Ramirez was remanded in Kirikiri Prison pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions.

He approached vacation judge Justice Ganiyu Safari Friday through his counsel Ademola Adefolaju, seeking a reduction of the bail conditions.

Adefolaju told Justice Safari that Ramirez’s health condition had deteriorated in Kirikiri Prison since his detention.

He prayed the court for an order to allow the defendant to bring one surety that is in a directorate cadre in the Lagos State civil service as a substitute for a director in a reputable company.

Adefolaju, who stated that the application was served on the EFCC on August 21, said Ramirez was dying in prison and the failure “to expeditiously determine the motion is dangerous as his health is deteriorating in prison custody.”

However, Justice Safari reasoned that since the EFCC was not aware of the proceedings it was better for the matter to be adjourned.

He ordered that a hearing notice be issued to the commission informing it of Ramirez’s application.

The judge adjourned hearing of the application till Monday, August 24.

According to the anti-graft agency, Ramirez, the Managing Director of three companies – USA Now Plc., Eagleford Instalodge Group and USA Now Capital Group – committed the offences between February 2013 and August 2013.

The American was alleged to have fraudulently received $545,000 dollars from one Godson Echejue to invest in one of Ramirez’s firms.

The plan was to procure an American green card (permanent residency card) for the Nigerian.

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 also accused 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.

Tags: scam, Marco Ramirez, green card scam, USA Now Plc., Eagleford Instalodge Group, USA Now Capital Group

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