Arrested Cyber Fraudster ‘Invictus Obi’ Obiwanne Okeke Accuses FBI Of Searching His Phones, Laptops Illegally
Obinwanne Okeke, the CEO of Invictus Group, who was arrested by the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for committing fraud of $11 million has accused the bureau of accessing his phones and laptops without proper procedure.
The young entrepreneur widely known as ‘Invictus Obi’ was arrested at the U.S airport while waiting to depart for Nigeria in August 2019, after a 13-month investigation by (FBI).
Obinwanne Okeke ,who was in 2016 named by Forbes as one of ’30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 to Watch’, sparked online frenzy when the news of his arrest broke, for allegedly defrauding top American companies.
His lawyers has however, accused the federal agents of not reading him his Miranda rights to him before asking that he unlocks his iPhone and Macbook Pro during his arrest.
The Miranda rights involve telling a suspect under arrest they have the right to remain silent and not cooperate with authorities, especially when the suspect has not contacted a lawyer.
According to his lawyers, the accusation is enough ground for the charges leveled against him to be dismissed.
In the preliminary objection, the lawyers further argued that all evidence obtained from Mr Okeke’s phones and laptops should fall under the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ doctrine and subsequently removed from admissible evidence in court during trial.
In the December 15, 2019 filing, the Iweanoges Firm representing Okeke said the FBI. held on to Okeke’s devices for more than two weeks after they arrested him and allegedly coerced him to release their passwords before obtaining a court warrant to search them.
This procedural mishap should render any evidence obtained from the devices useless, they said.
In their response, filed on January 24 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where Okeke is facing two counts of computer and wire fraud, the prosecutors said the defence lawyers were being frivolous with their allegations.
They reiterated that Okeke was read his Miranda rights at about 11:35 p.m. on August 6, 2016, moments after he was taken into custody at the Washington Dulles International Airport and handed over to the FBI airport command.
The prosecutors said Okeke was informed he could remain silent, but he willingly agreed to let authorities search his devices by providing passwords to them.
The prosecutors further argued that even without his Miranda rights being read as his lawyers claimed, the evidence from his phone cannot be dismissed because they only corroborated evidence already collected in the year-long investigation into his alleged involvement in the $11 million fraud.