A United States court has dismissed the case against alleged Nigerian fraudster, Olalekan Ponle a.k.a Mr Woodberry who’s held in the United States for alleged multi-million-dollar fraud.
Mr Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, was arrested, alongside Ramon Abbas (Hushpuppi) in their United Arab Emirate residence on June 10 for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubai crime unit. The duo were extradited to the U.S. on July 2.
According to the complaint against Mr Ponle, 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.
It was reported that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) nabbed Mr Ponle through details accessed from his WhatsApp, iPhone and Bitcoin transactions.
The 29-year-old was facing charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy at a United States District Court in Illinois.
According to a report by Premium Times, the United States government on Monday filed a motion through its attorney, John R. Lausch, requesting that the case against Mr Ponle be dismissed without prejudice.
“Counsel for the government has spoken with counsel for the defendant and defendant’s counsel has no objection to this motion. Respectfully submitted,” Mr Lausch stated.
He said it is in pursuant with Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 48, which states that the government may, with leave of court, dismiss an indictment, information, or complaint.
Also, the government may not dismiss the prosecution during trial without the defendant’s consent.
A court order issued by Judge Robert W. Gettleman on Tuesday, said the government’s motion to dismiss complaint without prejudice was granted.
“Without objection the complaint against defendant Ponle is dismissed without prejudice. Motion presentment hearing set for 7/23/2020 is stricken,” Mr Gettleman ruled.
When a case is dismissed with prejudice, it is over and done with, once and for all, and can’t be brought back to court.
However, when it is dismissed without prejudice, like in the case of Mr Ponle, the dismissal is temporary as the prosecutor can refile the case within a certain period of time.
The probable causes of dismissal range from unavailability of sufficient evidence, an improper criminal complaint or charging document, to loss of evidence necessary to prove the defendant committed the crime.
While newsmen are yet to obtain the reason for the dismissal against Mr Ponle, there are indications that the prosecutor will re-file a case against him.
He is yet to be released from detention at the time of this report.