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    Sunday, 25 November 2018

    Travel consultant defrauds US visa-seeking customers

    A 39 - year - old travel consultant , Jessica Esorougwe , has been arrested by the police for allegedly defrauding two customers seeking visas to the United States of America .

    It was gathered that the consultant collected a total of N760 , 000 from the victims to assist in procuring visas for their families .

    Our correspondent learnt that the agent reneged on the agreement to procure the visas and also failed to return the money.

    One of the victims , Mrs Yemisi Bello, said , “Sometime in April, I was introduced to Mrs Jessica Esorougwe that she is a travel agent for American visa.

    She ( Jessica) said she had a programme in New York City , USA , for children between 12 and 16 years . I told her that I couldn ’ t go for it because my son was just six years old . And I suggested my sister for the programme.

    “ The agent asked me to pay the sum of N420 , 000 for my sister and her two daughters and I paid. In addition to the earlier payment , she later requested another N 90 , 000 , which she claimed was the visa appointment fee and I paid .

    Sometime in May , she called my sister and told her that there was a programme for me and my son . She said it would cost N250 , 000 .

    “ When the time came , I asked for the invitation letter for my sister and her daughters , and she kept on deceiving me .

    She later said she had cancelled the programme without our knowledge and till date , no visa has been given to my sister and her daughters . ”

    Esorougwe , however , said the event they were to participate in was a credible purpose of travel but the US embassy denied the applications , adding that the payment made was non - refundable .

    The accused was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrates ’ Court in Lagos on four counts bordering on obtaining under false pretences and unlawful conversion of funds .

    The charges read in part, “That you , Jessica Esorougwe , sometime in the month of May 2018 at Balogun Street , Isheri in the Ikeja Magisterial District , did by false pretences and with intent to defraud , obtained the sum of N250 , 000 from one Yemisi Bello with the promise of securing USA visa for her ,

    thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 313 and punishable under Section 314 (1 ) (3 ) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State , 2015 .

    “ That you , Jessica Esorougwe, on the same date , time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district , did unlawfully convert the sum of N510 , 000 into your own use , property of one Ajibola Onipinla , thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 280 and punishable under Section 287 ( b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State , 2015 .

    The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges .

    The presiding magistrate, Mrs A. K. Dosunmu , granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200 , 000 with two sureties each in like sum.
    She adjourned the case till December 11 , 2018 .

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