Influencer 'Ray Hushpuppi' sentenced to 11 yrs in federal prison for laundering millions from online scams
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Nigerian influncer, Ramon Abbas, 40, who went by the name 'Ray Hushpuppi' on social media by flaunting his lavish lifestyle to over 2.8 million followers has been jailed for 11 years in Los Angeles on Monday, November 7 over international fraud in which he conspired to launder $300 million, besides being involved in internet related scams. He got nailed after what the FBI calls an operation "Top Dog" to investigate the frauds.
Ray Hushpuppi regularly posted pictures of him online as he posed in designer clothing in front of supercars, private jets, and was branded "one of the most prolific money launderers in the world" by the FBI, reported the Daily Mail. His funds came from the "multiple counts of fraud."
Abbas was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D Wright II, who also ordered Abbas to pay $1,732,841 in restitution to two fraud victims, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice. Prosecutors said, Abbas, who is Nigerian, and a Canadian man, Ghaleb Alaumary, laundered money from various online crimes including bank cyberheists and business email compromise, or BEC, a prolific crime in which crooks hack into email accounts, pretend to be someone they are not to deceive victims into wiring money where it does not belong.
"In May 2019, Abbas conspired with Alaumary to launder millions of pounds stolen from a professional soccer club in the United Kingdom as well as a British company. In connection with that scheme, Abbas provided Alaumary with details for a bank account in Mexico that could handle millions and not block,” according to court documents.
Abbas also fraudulently induced a New York-based law firm in October 2019 to transfer approximately $922,857 to an account that a co-conspirator controlled under someone else’s name, it added. “By his own admission, during just an 18-month period defendant conspired to launder over $300 million,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “While much of this intended loss did not ultimately materialize, [Abbas’] willingness and ability to participate in large-scale money laundering highlights the seriousness of his criminal conduct.”
As per the report, the court doccument adds, “Abbas bragged on social media about his lavish lifestyle – a lifestyle funded by his involvement in transnational fraud and money laundering conspiracies targeting victims around the world,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Money laundering and business email compromise scams are a massive international crime problem, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement and international partners to identify and prosecute those involved, wherever they may be.”
Abbas pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering. He was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in June 2020 and has remained in federal custody since his expulsion from the UAE.