American Marco Ramirez duped two Nigerians of $368,698 under the pretext of obtaining Green Cards for them, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) testified before an IKEA Special Offences Court on Thursday.
FBI officer Ayotunde Solademi, in his testimony, confirmed that Mr Ramirez defrauded the Nigerians.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Mr Ramirez on an amended nine counts bordering on obtaining money under false pretences.
The defendant is facing trial alongside his companies: USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP.
Mr Solademi said that the Office of the Legal Attache in the U.S. Consulate, sometime in 2016, received a letter from EFCC requesting that the FBI should assist it to find out about the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Programme.
The witness said: “The request was also to know if USA Now LLC has the right to issue out the EB-5 Investor Immigrant visa to Nigerians.
“The FBI investigated the matter relating to questions that were asked.
“We responded to the EFCC based on our search and people interviewed.
“The main crux of our finding is that Nigeria is not a participant of the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Programme.
“If Nigeria is not a participant, then no company has been given the licence or right to give out the visa to them.”
The witness identified an FBI correspondence with EFCC, and it was admitted in evidence.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Lawal Pedro (SAN), the witness said that the defendant was also wanted in the U.S. to stand trial for some other charges against him.
“Sometime in 2018, the FBI wanted the EFCC to return the defendant to the U.S. to face charges against him,” he said.
EFCC alleges that the defendant defrauded Messrs Gabriel Ogie and Oludare Talabi of USD368,698 on the pretext that the sum was their investment in his company, which would qualify them to be eligible for issuance of U.S. Green Cards.
EFCC had informed the Court that Mr Solademi was its last witness and would close its case.
Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until June 24, for defence to open its case.