Nigerian influencer Ray Hushpuppy sentenced to 11 years in US prison for fraud

Nigerian influencer Ray Hushpuppy sentenced to 11 years in US prison for fraud

A Nigerian influencer who dubbed himself the “Billionaire Gucci Master” has been jailed for more than 11 years for his role in an international fraud syndicate in which he conspired to launder more than $300 million.

Described by the FBI as “one most fruitful money launderers in the world,” Ramon Abbas, who went by Ray Hushpuppy on social media, attracted more than 2.8 million followers. Instagram: flaunting his ultra-luxurious lifestyle, complete with luxury cars and private jets.

According to Abbas, 40, he financed his excessive habits through numerous cases of fraud court documents, and has now been sentenced to 135 months in federal prison along with a Canadian man after pleading guilty to money laundering. A Los Angeles judge ordered Abbas to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution to his two victims.

Court documents reveal that over an 18-month period, he helped launder more than $300 million by engaging in online bank robberies and business email compromise (BEC), a crime that involves impersonating others by hacking emails. Abbas says his crimes earned him only $300,000.

Abbas’ victims included a New York law firm he convinced to deposit $900,000 into a criminal account, an unnamed British soccer club and someone who was planning to use their money to fund a new school in Qatar.

In 2019, Abbas attempted to launder $13 million stolen from a bank in Valletta, Malta by North Korean hackers, who later shut down payment systems, throwing the European country into chaos.

Victims ‘Financially Ruined’

“Abbas used his social media platforms to gain fame and boast about the vast wealth he had acquired,” Don Alloway, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said in a court filing.

He added that the scam “financially devastated many victims and provided aid to the North Korean regime.”

“This landmark verdict is the result of years of cooperation between law enforcement agencies in many countries and should send a clear warning to international fraudsters that the FBI will seek justice for victims, whether criminals operate within or outside the borders of the United States.”

Abbas’ crimes began years ago, first with a romance scam, BBC reportswhich involves impersonating different people online and convincing lovers to transfer money.

The influencer was originally arrested at a Dubai property in 2020, from where officials were seized 13 luxury cars worth about 41 million dollars and 6.8 million dollars.

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