Olalekan Ponle, a Nigerian held in the United States for alleged fraud, came about his nickname, ‘Woodberry’, during his high school days, documents showed.
Mr Ponle was arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubai crime unit.
According to the complaint, an unnamed Chicago company was tricked into sending wire transfers totalling $15.2 million. Companies based in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California also were victims of the fraud, prosecutors say.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nabbed Mr Ponle through details accessed from his WhatsApp, iPhone and Bitcoin transactions. He was extradited to the United States on July 2.https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/402004-how-we-tracked-woodberry-via-iphone-whatsapp-bitcoin-transactions-fbi.html
In a WhatsApp chat obtained by the FBI, Mr Ponle told an unidentified individual that the name Woodberry “came from one his high school friend.”
The friend, according to the alleged fraudster, “awarded him the name because he was a comedian in high school.”
Below is an excerpt from the said chat of June 18, 2019.
“Individual: Now you know my full government. Tell me yours.
Ponle: Jacob Ponle.
Individual: Where did Woodie come from?
Ponle: It came from a friend awarding me that name cause I used to be a comedian in high school and ever since I retained it.
The 29-year-old is currently facing charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy at a United States District Court sitting in Illinois.
His first appearance in court was on July 3, after which the preliminary hearing was set for July 16 before Judge Jeffrey T Gilbert.
Although Mr Ponle appeared in court for his detention and a preliminary hearing on Thursday, PREMIUM TIMES cannot access the outcome of the proceedings as of the time of filing this report.
Also, he has been indicted by a grand jury, a group of lawyers empowered to conduct legal proceedings and investigate potential criminal conduct.
The jury summed up the allegations against Mr Ponle to an eight-count charge of wire fraud, which violates section 1343 of the United States criminal code.