The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has retrieved about $6 million from Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as ‘Mr Woodberry’.
Woodberry was arrested alongside popular Instagram celebrity, Ramoni Igbalode in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and was later extradited to the United States where they are facing charges on various fraud allegations.
The money was retrieved from Woodberry’s bitcoin wallet and it totalled 151.8 Bitcoin. The forfeiture filing was dated April 29, 2022, when Bitcoin was trading at $39,457, bringing the value of the haul to $6 million.
According to court documents from the United States District Court for the Northern District Of Illinois, U.S. prosecutors sought forfeiture of any property derived from the proceeds of Mr Ponle’s criminal enterprise.
“Through the violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 as alleged in Counts One through Eight of the indictment, the United States seeks forfeiture of any property involved in or traceable to the defendant’s violation including, but not limited to 151.885720427 Bitcoin Cryptocurrency under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C) and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c),” the court documents said.
In 2020, the FBI filed a complaint against Mr Ponle regarding his criminal activities and how he used Bitcoin to conceal stolen funds from his alleged criminal activities online. The bureau noted that Mr Ponle had been using the same address (16AtGJbaxL2kmzx4mW5ocpT2ysTWxmacWn) since 2014.
The intelligence agency further revealed how Mr Ponle and his accomplices engaged in a scheme known as business email compromise (BEC) and subsequently defrauded American companies of tens of millions of dollars while converting $6.5 million into 1,500 BTC.
“Preliminary blockchain analysis indicates that PONLE received at least 1,494.71506296 bitcoin related to these BEC schemes, valued at approximately $6,599,499.98 at the time he received the proceeds,” the document added.
Mr Ponle, also known as ‘Mr Woodbery’, and ‘Mark Kain’, was arraigned on a separate charge in Chicago last July.