The scam artist known as Hushpuppi has been sentenced to 11 years jail in the United States on fraud and money laundering charges.
As reported by the BBC, Hushpuppi, real name Ramon Abbas, was arrested in Dubai in 2020 for his involvement in a cyberscam syndicate that stole millions of dollars. The Nigerian national exploited that wealth over the years to become well-known as an Instagram influencer, boasting 2.8 million followers on the platform. His posts showed off his affluent lifestyle, featuring luxury goods and a cavalcade of expensive cars. Abbas regularly posted photos of himself with Rolls Royces, Ferraris, Mercedes G-Wagens, and Bugattis, claiming his wealth was earned as a "property developer."
Abbas was extradited to the US shortly afterward, to face charges of "money laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, and scamming" on the order of $430 million. The arrest was coordinated between Dubai authorities, the FBI, and Interpol. The raids netted 11 other suspects that were allegedly involved, along with $37 million in cash from Abbas' apartment and more than 12 luxury cars.
In court documents, authorities alleged that Abbas perpetrated a wide variety of illegal schemes to generate his wealth. These included email scams against businesses, stealing from online banking platforms, and even assisting the North Korean regime. In the latter case, Abbas was charged with trying to launder $13 million stolen from the Maltese Bank of Valetta by North Korean hackers.
Abbas ended up filing a guilty plea for money laundering last year. It concerned an attempt to steal over $1.1 million from an individual wishing to provide funds to open a school in Qatar, and implicated a Nigerian police official in the process.
In September, Abbas provided a letter to the court ahead of his expected sentencing. It outlined some of his criminal activities, and offered an explanation of how he generated his wealth, and his regrets regarding his crimes. It also praised the actions of the FBI for their thorough work on his case. According to reports from the Premium Times, Abbas' wife and two imams also petitioned the court appealing for leniency.
The expected maximum sentence was on the order of 15 to 20 years in federal prison. Ultimately, Abbas was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison, just over 11 years. At the conclusion of the sentence, Abbas is to be deported to Nigeria.
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