Liberia: Court Arrests Owner of Cigar Hub for Alleged US$77k Fraud

MONROVIA – The Monrovia City Court at the Temper of Justice has arrested Franco Lapenta, proprietor of Cigar Hub for reportedly defrauding a businesswoman.

Judge Jomah S. Jallah on December 13th, 2022, mandate the sheriff of the Monrovia City Court to effect the arrest of Lapenta after a formal complaint by Sweet N. Sango who is resident in the United States.

“You are hereby commanded to arrest the living body of Franco Lapenta, to be identified, defendant and forthwith bring him before the Monrovia city Court, Temple of Justice building, Montserrado County to answer to charge of misapplication of entrusted property and theft of property based upon the oath and complaint of the republic of Liberia by and through Joseph D. Dopoh, Atty in fact for Sweet N. Sango, plaintiff in which it is substantially alleged as follows to wit”

In her formal complaint, Ms. Sango said while in a romantic long-distance relationship Mr. Lapenta, he lured her into becoming an investor in a cigar bar business in Liberia.

She said using false pretenses, Mr. Lapenta extorted from her more than $77,000.00 united states dollars over the course of twenty-four months.

“Mr. Lapenta used my money which he took from me under the pretext of starting a business in which I was supposed to be the sole investor, to set up a very successful cigar bar called Cigar hub and located on Russell Avenue, 19th, and 20th Streets intersection, Sinkor for himself…”.

In addition to purchase of Cigar, Alcohol, Rent and furniture for the property hosting the popular Cigar Hub on 19 and 20th streets in Sinkor, Ms Sango said she invested for renovation of properly $ 14,662, while she purchased a Toyota tundra Pickup $15,000 the running of the bar.

She told the court that she transferred thousands of dollars to service cost for electricity, and electrical works, Plumbing, and even was made to pay for glass doors and flatscreen TVs.

She prayed the court saying: “It has become clear that I have been duped in an investment scam and that Mr. Lapenta intentionally and wickedly planned to extort thousands of dollars from me for his own private and personal use and that there was no intention to use the funds he lured me into giving to him for the business purposes he stated at the start of our relationship”.

“No report from sales was ever made, I have received zero financial returns since the investment was made consistent with our agreement” the complaint added.

She said her complaint to the court was meant to seek justice seek justice and to ensure a full repayment of the “stolen funds” and bring Mr. Lapenta to justice under the law.

Last week Lapenta appeared before the Monrovia City Court and denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile he was released on a criminal appearance bound and entrusted to his lawyer.

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