An instagrammer from Nigeria is facing 20 years in prison for laundering a record amount

An instagrammer from Nigeria is facing 20 years in prison for laundering a record amount

A well-known influencer can spend the next two decades behind bars. Ramon Abbas was detained in Los Angeles by representatives of the FBI. A glamorous millionaire is accused of laundering the largest amount in history. He was a member of a criminal group, deceiving large businessmen from the United States and around the world in fraudulent schemes.

37-year-old Ramon Abbas, whom many people know by the nickname Hushpuppi (Ray Hushpuppi), is in custody in the United States. He was arrested during a raid in Dubai. The police found $ 41 million in cash and 13 luxury cars in his house. And once this guy was a simple street vendor in Lagos.

An instagrammer from Nigeria is facing 20 years in prison for laundering a record amount

The Instagram star is accused of money laundering. According to the documents presented in court, he deceived people for 17 million pounds (about 1.8 billion rubles) in general. The records indicate that Abbas received 800,000 pounds (about 82 million rubles) as charitable assistance for the construction of a school in Qatar.

The FBI alleges that Abbas and his network tricked companies into transferring large amounts of money through corporate email hacking attacks. After email accounts have been compromised – usually using crude phishing attacks based on users clicking on a malicious link – the scammers wait until the victims send or receive a large transfer. Then they duplicate the invoice in an exact copy and re-send it from an email address that looks identical to the original sender: only the recipient's bank account is changed to the one controlled by the scammers. 

Usually, such an email is accompanied by an apology for an error in the account data. Emails are often backed up by fake websites that duplicate the client's site, and phone numbers that completely match the genuine ones. As soon as the money is transferred to this account, it is divided and distributed to bank accounts around the world, and the profit is distributed among the scammers. 

The FBI estimates that such attacks accounted for about 40% of all money earned through cybercrime in the United States in 2020. According to data published by Bloomberg, such scams are especially common in Nigeria, where about 50% of all corporate email hacking schemes occur.

An instagrammer from Nigeria is facing 20 years in prison for laundering a record amount

The influencer regularly shared photos of a luxurious life on Instagram, impressing 2.5 million of his followers. Abbas claimed that he made his fortune playing in the real estate market in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and other places. He lived in a penthouse at the Palazzo Versace Dubai, which he once boasted cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to rent each year and contained "four Jacuzzis, a sauna and a private pool." The posts were often accompanied by motivational quotes urging subscribers to "never give up" on a dream – as Abbas cited his own success.

An instagrammer from Nigeria is facing 20 years in prison for laundering a record amount

But last June, the mirage was dispelled when FBI agents broke into Abbas ' house in Dubai and took the confused blogger out in handcuffs. Inside, the agents found $ 41 million in cash, 13 luxury cars worth about $ 6.8 million, as well as telephone and computer data containing more than 100,000 files proving the facts of fraud, and the addresses of almost two million possible victims. 

Abbas was then taken to the United States and transferred to a prison in California, where he will remain until sentencing. Abbas ' lawyer previously claimed that his client was "kidnapped" by the FBI, but he does not admit his guilt. The fact that Abbas still admitted guilt became known only this week, although the court session was held on April 20.

An instagrammer from Nigeria is facing 20 years in prison for laundering a record amount

Many businessmen around the world have suffered in fraudulent schemes. The charges against Abbas include conspiracy to commit fraud using electronic means of communication, conspiracy to participate in money laundering and aggravated identity theft. In addition to him, two Nigerian citizens and three Americans were charged. They are accused of being involved in a scheme led by Abbas.

Thanks to his fame, Hashpappi established ties with state institutions, turning fraudulent schemes in the United States and other countries. If his guilt is fully proven, the influencer can go to prison for 20 years.

Meanwhile, two brothers committed the largest theft of bitcoins. They acquired citizenship on a remote Pacific island, and then disappeared.

Keywords: North America | Court | Celebrities | Fashion | Arrest | World | Prison | Los Angeles | Victims | Criminals | Society | Gang | Deception | Fraud | Fame | Raid | Businessmen | Social networks | Subscribers | Influencers

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