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Hushpuppi: Notorious Nigerian scammer jailed for 11 years in the United States


Hushpuppi, whose real name is Ramon Abbas, was also sentenced to pay $ 1,732,841 (£ 1,516,182) to two victims.

The influencer became famous for showing off his comfortable lifestyle on his page, which had 2.8 million followers.

But when he was arrested in Dubai two years ago, everything fell apart.

According to Don Alway, the deputy director in charge of the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles, Abbas had become “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world” behind his account glitz.

“Abbas leveraged his social media platforms … to gain notoriety and brag about the immense wealth he has amassed by carrying out corporate email scams, online bank robberies and other cyber frauds that have financially ruined dozens of victims and helped the North Korean regime, “Alway said in a court of law. .

Abbas pleaded guilty to money laundering last year and admitted stealing more than $ 1.1 million from someone trying to fund a new children’s school in Qatar. California court documents claim he played a key role in the settlement, “playing the role of bank officials and creating a fake website.”

He also admitted that he “initiated many other compromising computer and corporate e-mail programs that together caused more than $ 24 million in losses,” according to the US Department of Justice.

One was a 2019 plan that plunged the European island of Malta into chaos when payment systems were shut down after attempting to launder 13 million euros ($ 13 million) stolen by a North Korean hacker gang from the bank. Valletta Maltese. At one point on Instagram, Abbas said he is a real estate developer and has a video category called “Flexing” – social media jargon to show off.

In 2020 he extended the lease for another year in the exclusive Palazzo Versace apartments in Dubai with his real name and his phone number.

“Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings in my life. Keep shaming those who wait for me to be shamed,” he captioned an Instagram photo of a Rolls-Royce just a fortnight before he was arrested.

Those who knew Abbas, born in Lagos before his transformation into Hushpuppi, argue that this is not the first scam he has committed. He reportedly started his fraudulent lifestyle as “Yahoo boy” – the Nigerian term for men who commit romantic fraud by stealing other people’s identities online and extorting money from their bland lovers.

A Lagos driver named Saye told the BBC in 2021 that he had developed a taste for the finer things in life, but he has always been “generous”.

“He bought beer for everyone in the area,” he said.

However, Abbas’ supporters say he is a changed man.

According to the Nigerian newspaper Permium Times, two imams have written to the Los Angeles judge asking for clemency. He said he regularly helps widows and orphans and donates to things like feeding programs.

Meanwhile, his wife said his arrest had left her in dire straits – noting she had to work overtime to pay for their child’s private education.

Abbas himself apologized for his crimes in a handwritten note to Judge Otis D. Wright and said he would use his personal funds to repay his victims. He also said he only made $300,000 from the crime he was accused of. However, he was still sentenced to 135 months in federal prison.