In this article, we will give you information on the possible Punishment for 419 in Nigeria or obtaining property by false pretense.
419 is the Nigerian expression for fraudulent activities and the act of duping an individual or a corporate entity.
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It is derived from the constitutional enactment addressing the issue of defrauding others by a Nigerian captured in section 419 of the Nigerian constitution. In constitutional terms, 419 means advance fee fraud.
You must have seen a notice on a property with the notification BEWARE OF 419. Thus, it is a criminal offense in Nigeria to obtain possession by an act of false pretense.
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So, if someone has duped you of your resource or parted with your money through fraudulent means, just realize that the individual or group of persons can be punished by the law.
- The crime of defrauding by false pretense or doing 419 is listed in the Criminal Code Act and the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006.
- Advance fee fraud or 419 is said to be committed when someone’s property is obtained by intentionally misrepresenting facts with the purposeful aim of defrauding the person.
- To convict a person of 419 or advance fee fraud, you must show evidence and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an existing fact was knowingly misstated by the party you accuse of the intent of making you part with your money or other possession of yours.
So, for a case to be established and judged as a case of 419 or advance fee fraud, the following premises have to be met:
- That there was a false pretense emanating from the accused person.
- That the accused person knew that s/he was making a false statement.
- That the accused person in making the false statement had the intention to defraud.
- That there was a property whose ownership could be transferred from the accuser to the accused.
- That the accused person induced the accuser to transfer ownership of the property to him or her.
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- Pretense in this context denotes a misrepresentation of facts.
- The accused person may not be convicted if it is proven that the complainant was not induced to part with a particular property based on the false written or spoken statements of the accused.
- Upon proving the accused guilty, the court will give a verdict and pronounce judgment on the accused.
Punishment for 419 in Nigeria
The following is the sentencing pattern for the crime of advance fee fraud or 419, or Punishment for 419 in Nigeria:
- If the property defrauded of the accuser is not worth up to ₦1000, the punishment is a sentence of 3 years imprisonment or more but not up to 7 years. A fine equivalent can also be obtained.
- If the property defrauded of the complainant is worth up to a thousand naira (₦1000), the penalty for such a 419 act is 7 years imprisonment or a fine equivalent.
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The penalty or punishment for 419 or advance fee fraud can be as high as 21 years depending on the gravity of the case.