The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday April 18th, arraigned American businessman, Marco Antonio Ramirez pictured above, alongside with his companies, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now LLC, before Justice Peter O. Affen of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja on an eight-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretense to the tune of $2.3m.
According to the complainants, Prince Ejikeme Ubanagum Mgbemena and Frank Ifaluyi Egbon, the suspect allegedly assured them that he would invest the money under the Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5).
The complainants further alleged that the suspect promised to provide American Green Card for members of their families below 18 years. Count one reads: “That you Marco Anthonio Ramirez, being the Manager of Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA NOW LLC and you EAGLE Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now LLC on or about 21st of May, 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud obtained through an account titled Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP domiciled at Well Fargo Bank USA the sum of Fifty- Five Thousand United States Dollars ($55,000) from one Ejikeme Ugbanagum Mgbemena under the false pretence of investing for him under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) Regional Center Program with pretence you knew was false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.’’
The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charges. In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Samuel A. Ugwuegbulam, asked the court for a date for trial. Consequently, Justice Affen adjourned the case to May 21, 2016 for hearing of bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded in EFCC custody.