By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
A real estate agent, Femi Alabi, who defrauded 21 accommodation seekers of N6.9 million, will be behind bars for the next three years, according to an Ikeja High Court.
Justice Kudirat Jose handed down the verdict after Alabi, 48, had pleaded guilty to the offences.
He was re-arraigned alongside Lateef Azeez by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The duo had entered into a plea bargain with the anti-graft agency, but Azeez has yet to be sentenced by the court.
In her judgment, Jose convicted Alabi for the 27-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences preferred against him.
Jose said the convict had inflicted untold hardship on the victims and callously deprived them of their hard-earned money with a false promise of giving them accommodation.
The judge, thereafter, sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count which will run concurrently beginning from Oct. 12.
She also ordered him to pay N1 million as restitution to the victims, while the EFCC should work out a plan to recover the balance from the rent proceeds of the building used for the scam.
Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mr M.S. Usman, had alleged that Alabi and Azeez conspired to commit the offences between November 2011 and March 2012.
Usman said they obtained various sums of money from 21 prospective tenants under the guise of securing accommodation for them.
He named those defrauded as Alhaja Ololade Hija, Mr Akeem Olawole, Miss Dupe Ajayi, Mr Samuel Daniel, Mr Tochukwu Onyekwere, Mr Sunday Eze and Mr Vincent Aneke, among others.
Usman said the apartment building used for the scam is situated at No. 62, Brickfield Road, Ebute Meta (West), Lagos.
The offences contravened Sections 285 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.