Instagram celebrity Olalekan Jacob Ponle, aka Woodberry, has entered a plea of guilt with the U.S. authorities.
He pleaded guilty to a fraud charge at a United States district court.
The district court for Northern Illinois has set 11 July for his sentencing.
He has agreed to surrender $8 million in proceeds of wire fraud as well as luxury cars and watches to the authorities.
Woodberry is well-known to be an ally of another Nigerian international fraudster, Ramon Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, who was jailed in 2022.
The two men were arrested for extensive international online scams in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on 10 June 2020, and were flown to the United States to face separate trials.
Hushpuppi, who initially pleaded not guilty, changed his plea to guilty in April 2021, just before a full-blown trial was to begin.
The US district court for Central California jailed him for 11 years and ordered him to pay $1.7 million restitution in November 2022.
Woodberry, who loved to flaunt his lavish lifestyle on Instagram, had at first pleaded not guilty to the eight-count fraud charge brought against him for engaging in a scheme known as business email compromise (BEC).
However, a plea declaration submitted at the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division on 6 April, revealed Woodberry had had a rethink and is now pleading guilty to count one of the indictments.
The judge, Robert Gettleman, accepted the defendant’s change of plea in a ruling delivered on 6 April.
The judge referred the case to the Probation Department for a pre-sentence investigation and report, which would guide his decision on the appropriate sentence to impose.
He gave the US government 60 days before the sentencing date to provide the Probation Office and the courtroom deputy a list of victims and their full current contact information to obtain the court’s order of restitution.
According to his plea agreement, Ponle was required to repay the $8 million he fraudulently received from the seven companies that fell for his scam.
“Defendant understands that by pleading guilty, he will subject to forfeiture to the United States all right, title, and interest that he has in any property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offence,” stated the document containing Ponle’s signed plea declaration.
Woodberry was also asked to waive his rights to the luxury cars, and designer watches he had stashed in Dubai.
The high-end automobiles include Rolls Royce Cullinan with vehicle no J9153, Lamborghini Urus (N4973) and Mercedes-Benz G-class (G68816).
Other items seized are four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, three Audemars Piguet watches, three gold and diamond-studded earrings, and six gold neck chains.
Last year, he had forfeited 151.8 Bitcoin, roughly $6 million, to the American government, determined to recover all stolen monies from the Nigerian fraudster.
Woodberry was arrested in Dubai on June 10, 2020, alongside Ramon Hushpuppi Abbas, currently serving an 11-year sentence for a similar fraud charge.
Before his arrest in 2020, Woodberry was known for using expensive designer wear and showing off his ill-gotten wealth to his massive Instagram followers, the majority of whom had no inkling his luxury lifestyle was funded by cybercrime.