An Accra Circuit Court has ordered a researcher to pay a fine of GHC60,000 after the researcher stole GHC 372,500 from two people under the pretense of investing it in bitcoin. In the event of default, Julius Bradford Lamptey, a data analyst, would be sentenced to 20 months in prison. At the conclusion of the trial, the court presided over by Mrs. Evelyn Asamoah convicted Lamptey guilty on four counts of defrauding under false pretenses. The court ordered the defendant, who sobbed in court, to give the complainants, Alice Atuleri and Edith Mahama, the unpaid balance.
In his plea for mitigating circumstances, Lamptey informed the court that he was married with two children, that his wife was currently pregnant, and that he was the family’s primary provider. Moreover, Lamptey testified before the court that he was duped into making the risky bitcoin investment by two Raymonds. The defendant, who was left without counsel while the verdict was being read, pleaded with the court for mercy and claimed that he had never cheated anyone and had no intention of doing the same to the complainants. The first complainant, Alice Atuleri, was a trader, while the second complainant, Humu Edith Mahama, was a businesswoman, according to the prosecution’s case, which is being handled by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Fuseini Yakubu.
According to the prosecution, Lamptey collaborated with the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and presented Alice, the initial complainant, to an investment package in May 2018 that he said would yield a 40% monthly return on any money invested. According to the report, a month after taking GHC 200,000 from Alice on two separate occasions, Lamptey gave Alice back GHC 40,000 while claiming that the money was interest on her investment package. The prosecution claimed that once the defendant sought the money, Alice was seduced by the interest earned and added GHC 150,000.
In total, the complainant gave GHC350,000 to the convict. It said Lamptey after collecting GHC350,000 from Alice, he promised to pay pack the interest within six months with effect from June 23, 2018. The prosecution told the court that the six month duration had expired, the complainant made several calls to the convict in her bid to recover the interest accrued on the money but to no avail. It said Lamptey went into hiding. In a related development, the prosecution said Lamptey in June 2018, approached Humu, the second complainant and with the same modus operandi and she (the complainant) parted with GHC 22,500.
Humu reported the incident to the Police after numerous attempts to find Lamptey. According to the prosecution, Lamptey was detained on October 18, 2019, and throughout the course of the inquiry, he confessed to taking the complainants’ money. According to the report, Lamptey said that he gave his business associates, Raymond Osei and Kwabena Acheampong Baafi, the money to engage in forex trading. But, according to the prosecution, Lamptey was unable to direct the Police to his alleged accomplices and was unable to produce any paperwork proving that, as he claimed, he had given his partners the money to deal in forex.