Nigerian influencer “Hushpuppi” jailed in US for money laundering | Crime News:

Nigerian influencer “Hushpuppi” jailed in US for money laundering | Crime News:

The 40-year-old social media influencer became known for a lavish lifestyle supported by money laundering.

A Nigerian social media influencer who went by the name Ray Hushpupi and flaunted a lavish lifestyle that helped launder millions of dollars was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles to more than 11 years in federal prison.

Ramon Abbas, 40, was also ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.7 million in restitution to two victims of the fraud, the United States Department of Justice said in a statement.

Abbas was “one of the world’s most prolific money launderers,” Don Alloway, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Abbas and the Canadian laundered money from a variety of online crimes, including bank cyber-crooks and business email compromise, or BEC, a prolific crime in which crooks hack into email accounts. where it doesn’t belong.

In 2019, he helped launder about $14.7 million stolen from a bank in Malta by North Korean hackers, funneling the money through banks in Romania and Bulgaria, prosecutors said.

He also helped launder millions of pounds stolen from a British company and a U.K. professional soccer club, forced a New York law firm to transfer nearly $923,000 to a criminal account, and admitted helping to defraud someone. in Qatar, who requested a $15 million loan to build a school, federal prosecutors said.

In July 2021, Nigeria’s top police officer, Abba Kyari, was sacked by the country’s Police Service Commission. After an FBI indictment implicating him Abbas.

At Monday’s sentencing, Abbas was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $922,857 to the law firm and $809,983 in restitution to the victim in Qatar.

“By his own admission, in just 18 months, the defendant conspired to launder more than $300 million,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum, though they said much of the intended damage “ultimately did not materialize.”

Abbas, who goes by the name “Ray Hushpuppi,” had more than two million Instagram followers before he was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2020.

His social media posts showed that he was living a life of luxury, complete with private jets, extremely expensive cars and high-end clothes and watches.

“I hope that one day I will inspire more young people to join me on this journey,” said an Instagram post by Abbas, who pleaded guilty in April 2021 to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Galeb Alaumari, 37, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was charged separately. He pleaded guilty in 2020 to conspiracy to commit money laundering, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to nearly 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution.

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