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Woodberry pleads not guilty to fraud charges

Olalekan Ponle has pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cummings of the United States District Court in Illinois.

Popularly addressed as Woodberry, Mr Ponle is facing charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy after he was arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 and extradited to the U. S. on July 2.

He was accused of tricking U.S. companies into sending wire transfers worth millions of dollars. Companies based in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California were victims of the fraud, prosecutors say.

Although the complaint against Mr Ponle has been dismissed, the grand jury indictment which summed his offences into eight counts charge is still active.

On Saturday, the defendant appeared in court. He acknowledged the receipt of the indictment and entered a plea of not guilty to each count.

“Defendant appears in response to his arrest on 7/2/20. Attorney, Michael Nash, appears on behalf of the defendant. Defendant informed of the charges against him as well as of the possible sentence fine if convicted of those charges.”

“Arraignment proceedings held, Defendant acknowledges receipt of the Indictment, waives formal reading, and enters a plea of not guilty to each count in which he is named,” the documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES read.

However, the status hearing, when to know if the case is set for trial, has been slated for August 8.

Mr Ponle is remanded in the custody of the United States Marshals Service and will remain in custody unless the court orders otherwise.

If convicted of the crime, he may spend the next 20 years in prison.

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