Canadian lenience in Nigerian scam: Chijioke Samuel Frank and Emmanuel Asuquo fraudsters asked to leave Canada
Chijioke Samuel Frank, 25, and Emmanuel Asuquo, 23, pleaded guilty Monday in Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench to possessing other people’s ID with the intent to commit fraud.
They were sentenced to two years less a day, to be served in the community. Usually, conditional sentence orders contain a provision that the offender stay in the court’s jurisdiction – but not in this case.
“A practical solution we’d like to present is they be placed on a conditional sentence order with a number of terms, but the overall objective is they leave the country as soon as practical,” Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter said in court. If Frank and Asuquo don’t co-operate with the Canada Border Services Agency, they won’t be in compliance with their conditional sentence and they’ll spend the time in jail instead, Ritter said.
The two men came to the attention of police after authorities in Paris intercepted a package on its way from northern Africa to the McEown Park student residence in Saskatoon, Ritter said.
The package contained 321 fake $500 traveller’s cheques.
A police officer in Saskatoon conducted a “controlled delivery” of the package, posing as a courier driver, and Frank signed for it. After an alarm in the package went off, indicating it had been opened, police entered the apartment with a warrant and found both Frank and Asuquo there.
Inside the apartment, police found other incriminating documents, including 12 forged cheques payable to various people totalling $92,114.29, six fake Canadian citizenship cards with various names and dates of birth, eight stolen debit cards and credit cards from various banks, six stolen driver’s licences and five stolen social insurance cards.
Frank and Asuquo’s Nigerian passports were seized by the RCMP and have since expired, but the conditions of their sentences include that the passports be turned over to the Canada Border Services Agency and that Frank and Asuquo report to the agency as directed and “take all steps necessary to leave Canada as soon as practicable.”
In the meantime, they must abide by a curfew, not obtain any employment of any kind, not use any computers and have no access to the Internet.
They are also ordered to have no contact with two other people: Odili Obi and Timloh Butchang Nkem.
The involvement of Obi and Nkem was not outlined in court, but Nkem separately faced fraud charges and was set for trial in Saskatoon provincial court last week.
Nkem, however, failed to show up for his trial – just as he did in November, when he was scheduled for sentencing on a sexual-assault conviction dating from January 2012 in Saskatoon, when he raped a 20-year-old woman on New Year’s Eve in Asuquo’s bedroom.
A warrant has been issued for Nkem’s arrest. The conditional sentence for Asuquo and Frank was jointly proposed by the Crown and defence and accepted by Justice Neil Gabrielson.