Hushpupi was sentenced to 11 years in prison despite the pleas of his wife and imams
The United States District Court in the Central District of California on Monday sentenced convicted fraudster Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppy, to 11 years and three months in prison after pleading guilty to laundering the proceeds of a school funding fraud, business email other fraudulent cyber schemes.
The Instagram celebrity has been ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.7 million in restitution to two fraud victims, the United States Department of Justice said in a statement on Tuesday.
The ruling, handed down by Judge Otis Wright II, ended Hushpuppy’s trial, which began after his arrest in June 2020 at a hotel apartment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Don Alloway, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, described Hushpuppy in a statement as “one of the most effective money launderers in the world.”
Hushpupi was extradited to the USA on July 3.
He was arrested for defrauding more than 1.9 million people, most of whom were Americans.
He also pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him.
Online news platform Premium Times reports that Hushpupi’s wife, Regina Manneh, and two imams from Lagos and Borno states have separately written to the US District Court seeking clemency.
According to the platform, a letter from Imam Rasaq Olopede of the Imisi-Oluwa Mosque in Lagos described Hushpupi as a “frequent donor” to the mosque.
In another letter, Hudu Abdulrasak of Madrasatul Ahlul-Bait Islamia, Maiduguri, Borno State also paid tribute to Hushpupi for his humanitarian gestures towards orphans and widows.
The letters were filed Nov. 4 in U.S. District Court in support of the convict’s earlier motion for a lighter sentence.
Our reporter learned that Hushpuppy is still being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, from where he will be transferred to the federal prison.
Tom Mrozek, director of media relations for the United States Attorney’s Office, said in response to a letter from our reporter on Tuesday. “He probably hasn’t been taken to jail yet. He will serve his sentence in a federal prison somewhere in the United States. The specific facility will be determined by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which manages those facilities and has the exclusive authority to decide where an inmate will be housed.”
Abdul Mahmoud, a human rights activist, said Abbas deserved a life sentence.
He said. “Abbas’s conviction shows how nations elsewhere view the issue of cybercrime as a national security issue that questions the state’s economic interests.
“I wish they would sentence him to life. We often don’t consider the impact of cybercrime on the victims – the people who lose the financial value of their lives.”
But another lawyer, Festus Ogun, said the punishment fit the crime, adding that the country’s legal system could learn from it.
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