Hushpuppi to Spend 11 Years in US Prison for Fraud

November 8, 2022
Hushpuppi Lazio

By Adedapo Adesanya

Popular Nigerian Instagram influencer, Mr Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, has been jailed for more than 11 years in the United States for his role in an international fraud syndicate.

Hushpuppi flaunted his wealthy lifestyle on his social media page, which had 2.8 million followers until it was disabled.

The judge in Los Angeles also ordered him to pay $1,732,841 in restitution to two fraud victims and will serve his sentence in federal prison.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to money laundering and admitted to attempting to steal more than $1.1 million from someone who wanted to fund a new children’s school in Qatar, court documents in California said.

The fraudster tricked his victim into providing funds for the school “by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website”, according to a statement from the then-acting US Attorney Tracy Wilkinson on the US justice department’s website.

Other suspects were allegedly also involved, the US justice department said, with Abbas playing a key role.

Mr Abbas also admitted to “several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses”, the US justice department said.

“Ramon Abbas… targeted both American and international victims, becoming one of the most prolific money launderers in the world,” said Don Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, in a court document.

“Abbas leveraged his social media platforms… to gain notoriety and to brag about the immense wealth he acquired by conducting business email compromise scams, online bank heists and other cyber-enabled fraud that financially ruined scores of victims and provided assistance to the North Korean regime.

“This significant sentence is the result of years’ worth of collaboration among law enforcement in multiple countries and should send a clear warning to international fraudsters that the FBI will seek justice for victims, regardless of whether criminals operate within or outside United States borders,” the statement added.

Mr Abbas apologised for his crimes to Judge Otis D Wright in a handwritten note, saying he would use his personal funds to pay back his victims.

He also said he had only made $300,000 from the crime he was being tried for.

Business Post reported that Hushpuppi’s luxurious lifestyle came to an abrupt end in 2020, when he was arrested while living in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

He also masterminded the sum of €2 million scam perpetuated on SS Lazio in a payment intended for an ex-Feyenoord player, Stefan de Vrij.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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