Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, Tuesday 28th, June, 2022, adjourned till August 10, 2022, for further trial in the case involving one Marco Antonio Ramirez, an American businessman who is being prosecuted on an amended 16-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence contrary to Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.

The defendant, is being prosecuted by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside his companies USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP for an alleged $1.2 million EB-5 visa scam.

The prosecution alleged that he obtained the money from his victims under the guise that it was the processing fee for their investment in his company USA Now Energy Capital Group LP in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) United States of America Investor Programme, and which investment will qualify them to be eligible for the issuance of USA Green Card, which however, did not turn out as he had promised.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the 12 count charge preferred against him at the first arraignment.

However, on June 24, 2022, the EFCC re-arraigned the defendant on an amended 16-count charge with the prosecuting counsel, M.S. Owede, informing the court that it was adding fresh four counts to the already existing 12 counts.

Owede, further, informed the court that the amended charge was dated June 21, 2022 and filed on June 23, 2022.

The defence counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN, who confirmed receipt of the amended counts raised no objection to the re-arraingment of his client on the new charges.

Count 13 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP between 5th February 2013 and 18th April 2013 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $545,000 property of Godson Onyemaechi Echegile.”

Count 14 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP between 12th July 2012 and 7th November 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $314,800 property of Abubakar Umar Sadiq.”

Count 15 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP between 19th February 2013 and 18th April 2013 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $230,000 property of Abubakar Umar Sadiq.”

Count 16 reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP between 14th June 2013 and 26th September 2013 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonourably converted to your personal use the aggregate sum of $149,000 property of Olukayode Sodimu.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the fresh charges when they were read to him.

Thereafter, he took to the dock to continue his defence in the alleged $1.2 million fraud charge against him.

Led in evidence by Pedro, the defendant testified in his defence denying the charges of stealing and obtaining money under false pretence.

The case was thereafter adjourned till August 10, 2022 for continuation of trial.