US businessman trial adjourned

Judge Mojisola Dada of the Special Offenses Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has adjourned until August 10, 2022 for a retrial in the case involving a certain Marco Antonio Ramirez, an American businessman who is being prosecuted on a charge amended to 16 counts bordering on obtaining money under a false pretense contrary to section 1(3) of the Advance Charges Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offenses Act 2006.

The accused is being prosecuted by the Lagos Area Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He is on trial alongside his companies: USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP, for an alleged $1.2 million EB-5 visa scam.

The prosecution alleged that he obtained the money from his victims on the pretext that it was a processing fee for their investment in his company USA Now Energy Capital Group LP under the US investor program of fifth preference based on employment (EB-5). , and what investment will qualify them to be eligible for the issuance of the USA Green Card, which however, did not turn out as promised.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the 12 charges brought against him at the first arraignment.

However, on June 24, 2022, the EFCC re-charged the defendant on an amended charge of 16 counts with the prosecutor, MS Owede, advising the court that he was adding four new counts to the already existing 12 counts.

Owede further informed the court that the amended charge was dated June 21, 2022 and filed June 23, 2022.

Defense attorney Lawal Pedro (SAN), who confirmed receipt of the amended charges, raised no objections to his client being re-indicted on the new charges.

Count 13 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP between February 5, 2013 and April 18, 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court converted dishonourably for your personal use the aggregate sum of $545,000 property of Godson Onyemaechi Echegile.

Count 14 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP between July 12, 2012 and November 7, 2012 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court dishonorably converted to your personal use the total sum of $314,800 belonging to Aboubakar Umar Sadiq.

Count 15 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP between February 19, 2013 and April 18, 2013 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court dishonorably converted to your personal use the total sum of $230,000 belonging to Aboubakar Umar Sadiq.

Count 16 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC and Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP between June 14, 2013 and September 26, 2013 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court dishonorably converted to your personal use the total sum of $149,000 belonging to Olukayode.Sodimu.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the new charges when they were read to him.

Subsequently, he took to the dock to continue his defense in the alleged $1.2 million fraud charge brought against him.

Led into evidence by Pedro, the accused testified in his defense denying the charges of theft and obtaining money under false pretenses.

The case was then adjourned until August 10, 2022 for further trial.

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