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UNILAG Student Jailed for 18 months after Defrauding American Woman under the pretext of Marriage



A 28 year-old student of University of Lagos was yesterday sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for defrauding an American lady on the internet. The student, Michael Opaleye, allegedly defrauded Kathy Lunsford, a lady he met online of 9,200 dollars (N1.4 million) after making a bogus marriage proposal to her through e-mail.

According to the EFCC Counsel, Opaleye had convinced her to send him the money as part of his travelling expenses from the United Kingdom to the U.S. Using the alias, Bentley Lyon, he forged a bank draft which he claimed was issued by the Bank of Ireland, Dublin.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Opaleye is a student of computer science at the University of Lagos, and had entered into a plea bargain deal with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was arraigned on a three-count charge of obtaining by false pretences and forgery.

The judge sentenced him to 18months  imprisonment which would commence from March 15, the date he was first arraigned.

The judge also ordered him to pay N100,000 monthly to the victim, through the EFCC, after his release from prison till he offsets the full sum. He was thereafter asked to forfeit the electronic appliances and other items purchased with the proceeds of the crime, which were recovered from his house during the investigation of the EFCC.

He committed the offences between 2008 and 2011.


When I first heard this news, I felt it was kind of odd for an American lady to trust a Nigerian student who promised her marriage. But after reading further and realizing he used an alias, it made more sense.

The news is embarrassing though. But, I can’t help but admire the creativity of  our youth. It is unfortunate that the desperate thirst for quick riches pushes most people to commit such crimes. A lot of people give up on their dreams in one year, but this guy pressed on for three years (he committed the crime between 2008 and 2011). It would have been an entirely different story if this creativity and dedication he used to swindle this woman was channeled into something constructive.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. Miss Mo

    October 12, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Nigerians will never learn. SMH

  2. @_Iyore

    October 12, 2012 at 4:09 am

    *Waits for them to feature this story on Investigation Discovery(USA tv channel)*


    October 12, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Now we know 419 is not peculiar to Igbos alone. Nigerians forget easily. The early 419ners were not even Igbos. Am sick and tired of reading bloggers commenting otherwise.
    The truth is that everyone loves money…Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas, Ghanaians, etc.
    To always insinuate that Igbos alone are money loving is annoying.

    • habba!

      October 12, 2012 at 7:30 am

      so far u are the only one to mention igbos in the comments! hmm lol

    • Me

      October 12, 2012 at 8:58 am

      You comment, Nnenne, Is extremely irritating. Note the word “Extremely”.

  4. jaybee

    October 12, 2012 at 6:17 am

    What has tribe got to do with this now?you guys like stirring the pot,voltron of the igbo race

  5. timma

    October 12, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Greed and love for money led him astray!Well he played the music let him dance to d beat

  6. duchi

    October 12, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Good job EFCC.. but my problem with Nigerian law.. is …people that steal billions of naira are been celebrated and given national honor .. while people that steal chicken,will have their hands cut off by sharia court …people that stole laptop in PH.. where killed, and in the case of the lag boy… he will go to jail and also pay back the ill gotten wealth… I think the judiciary should do some to this … no body should be above the law of the land.

  7. csl

    October 12, 2012 at 8:00 am

    whats a 28y/o still doing in uni?

    • PussyBoy

      October 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

      It’s Unilag not BABCOCK…..moron!

    • tbn

      October 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Seriously? thats the most stupid question ever. So youre saying that theres an age limit for education right? ignoramus!

  8. Whoa

    October 12, 2012 at 8:41 am


  9. Efexorigho

    October 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    pls what does age get to do wit place of learning.pls csl say something good and intresting

    • pretty

      October 12, 2012 at 9:59 am

      He dey talk say the guy too old for Uni.

  10. HAUWA

    October 12, 2012 at 11:19 am


  11. hmm

    October 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I honestly can’t believe someone is asking what a 28yr old is still doing in uni…are you new to the crappy (excuse my french) education system in Nigeria? If you are trying to imply he’s still in school because he’s dull, I think the reason we are reading about him today proves he’s not. He should’ve just channelled his creativity to something positively productive


    October 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

    @NNENNE u av to be generouse in giving opinion on public maters, y mentioning igbos crime can be committed by anybody loi…..

  13. @ajiriavae

    October 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I hope they catch more of these young men and women who are giving legitimate people a hard time in international circles.

  14. Turn turn turner

    October 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Men, u BN commentators crack me up big time! Thanks guys, much needed distraction from the depressing feeling I’ve had all week.

  15. Hadassah

    October 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    @ duchi, thought the same thing too. @csl and nnene, I’m surprised at your comments! good we have people like you two, so that we can actually have a good laugh…* long hiss*

  16. adelegirl

    October 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    The guy is a big disgrace to himself and his family. At 28, still at the university and instead of focusing on his studies he decided to fall for the get-rich-quick-syndrome that’s responsible for such crimes in this country.

    Anyway, when will people learn? How daft can you be to give money to someone you’ve never met and only interacted with on the internet!? In this day and age? I’m sorry but I do not feel at all sorry for Kathy Lunsford. Someone once said you can only defraud a greedy person… I believe that is true in 9 out of 10 of these 419 cases.

  17. duchess

    October 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    pls o, how convincing would the guy have been that the lady paid him 1.2m for a marriage proposal? haaa….i must marry by force!!! the guy was putting his Computer Science knowledge to use..lolll..

  18. huh?

    October 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Are oyibo women too desperate for marriage?

  19. buchi

    October 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being in the university at age 28. I’m marveled and at the same time disgusted by the thought pattern of some people. sheesh!

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