Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Mr. Woodberry, was allegedly tortured by Dubai police while they were investigating wire fraud claims against him, according to Michael B. Nash, Mr. Woodberry’s attorney, who testified in front of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Mr. Nash claimed that the internet fraudster was tortured for around 31 days in Dubai police custody after his arrest in June 2020 in his objection to the presentence report and sentencing memorandum, which was submitted by federal prosecutors.
Federal prosecutors requested a judge to sentence the Instagram celebrity to 14 years in prison for wire fraud in the memorandum. They also suggested that Mr. Woodberry be compelled to surrender all assets acquired with the profits of the scam and pay $8,038,214.99 in compensation to his victims.
However, Mr. Nash asserted that Mr. Woodberry was tortured by the Dubai police while being questioned, noting that “His interrogation and torture continued for about 31 days, until the day before he was delivered to the FBI at the Dubai airport.”
The lawyer also claimed that the online celebrity’s father, who was known for flaunting his extravagant lifestyle, had passed away before he was born, according to court documents obtained by news agency.
The defense attorney referred to Mr. Woodberry’s childhood as “difficult” and said that between the ages of four and ten, the defendant suffered physical abuse at the hands of an uncle.
He dealt with a father who died before he was born, a stepfather who was simultaneously married to another woman at the same time, and an uncle who physically tortured him with a belt and a stick because he was ‘young and dumb.’ He had an undeniably terrible life.
Because his mother had a job in another state, he was nurtured by that uncle from the age of 4 to 10.
Although the defendant’s life “dramatically” changed following his arrest in June 2020, Mr. Nash claimed that the defendant has since maintained amicable relations with his mother and siblings.
According to the attorney, Mr. Woodberry “gave full confessions” and was “truthful” when speaking with federal investigators tasked with the investigation; as a result, “At the very least, these facts offer over five million good reasons for the court to depart from the guidelines.”
In April, Mr. Woodberry entered a guilty plea to the eight-count allegation leveled against him and consented to forfeit the money gained from the various wire frauds he committed while living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, under the alias “Mark Kain,” by hiring at least four money mules.
On June 10, 2020, Mr. Woodberry was detained along with Hushpuppi, who had previously served 11 years in prison for computer fraud.