Nigerian law enforcement agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Thursday re-arraigned an American, Marco Antonio Ramirez, before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja for allegedly defrauding some Nigerians of $565,000 (about N203.4m) on the pretext of helping them secure the United States Green Card, PUNCH reported.
According to PUNCH, Ramirez was arraigned alongside his companies, USA Now LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now Capital Group by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on amended 12 counts bordering on conspiracy and obtaining under false pretenses.
Nigerian law enforcement agent, EFCC said that between February 2013 and August 2013 in Lagos Nigeria, Ramirez and his companies defrauded Ambassador Godson Echejue, Abubakar Sodiq and Olukayode Sodimu of the said money.
Ramirez and his companies were first arraigned on June 22, 2017, before Justice Josephine Oyefeso on 16 counts bordering on the same offences. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following the not guilty plea, he was admitted to bail in the sum of $25,000 by Justice Oyefeso. According to Dailymail, Ramirez is believed to be from Dallas, Texas, US.
The accused had allegedly promised the victims that he would invest the money they gave him under the Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5).
According to reports, Ramirez was also arraigned in a separate court before Peter Affen of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Maitama on April 18, 2016, for defrauding two Nigerians Ejikeme Mgbemena and Frank Egbon of $2.3m after he promised to provide American Green Card for members of their families below 18 years.
Midway into the 2017 trial, the case file was transferred, and he was subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada.
After taking his plea, Ramirez’s counsel, Ademola Adefolaju, urged the court to allow his client to continue with the bail terms set by the previous judge.
When asked by Justice Dada if the defendant had complied with the bail terms, Adefolaju confirmed that his client had fully complied and had been going to the EFCC’s office as directed by the court.
Granting the request, Justice Dada said, “Having not breached the bail terms granted by my brother judge, the defendant is hereby allowed to continue with the terms.”
The case was adjourned to October 7, 8, 9 and 10 for trial.