Nigerian man sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison for conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars in online scams | USAO-CDCA

Nigerian man sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison for conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars in online scams | USAO-CDCA

THE ANGELS — A prolific international fraudster who conspired to launder tens of millions of dollars through a series of online scams and flaunted his lavish, crime-funded lifestyle on social media was sentenced today to 135 months in federal prison.

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 40, a Nigerian national who also goes by his Instagram name “Ray Hushpuppy”, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. by Wright II, which also ordered Abbas to pay $1,732,841 in restitution for two counts of fraud. victims

Abbas pleaded guilty in April 2021 to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in June 2020 and remained in federal custody after being deported from the UAE.

“Abbas bragged on social media about his lavish lifestyle, which was financed by his involvement in transnational fraud and money laundering schemes that targeted victims around the world,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Money laundering and business email compromise scams are a massive international crime problem, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement agencies and international partners to identify and prosecute those involved, wherever they are.”

“Ramon Abbas, aka ‘Hushpuppi,’ has targeted both American and international victims, becoming one of the world’s most prolific money launderers,” said Don Alloway, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Abbas has used his social media platforms, where he has amassed a significant following, to gain notoriety and boast of the vast wealth he has acquired through business email scams, online bank robberies and other cyber scams that have financially destroyed many victims and aid. showed 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 conspired with Galeb Alaumari, 37, of Mississauga, Canada, a convicted money launderer, to launder the proceeds of a variety of crimes, including bank cyber robberies, business email compromise schemes and other online fraud. BEC schemes typically involve unauthorized access to business email.

In January 2019, Abbas conspired with Alaumari to launder funds stolen from a bank in Malta by providing account information to banks in Romania and Bulgaria. The United States has North Korean hackers have been charged with committing a cyber-heist on a bank in Malta and suggested the funds were intended for the North Korean government. Abbas admitted that the intended loss for Bank of Malta was about $14.7 million.

In May 2019, Abbas conspired with Alaumari to launder millions of pounds stolen from a UK professional football club as well as a British company. In connection with that scheme, Abbas provided Alaumari with details for a bank account in Mexico that “could manage the millions, rather than block them,” according to court documents.

Abbas also fraudulently caused a New York-based law firm to transfer approximately $922,857 in October 2019 to an account the associate controlled in another name.

Alaumar was separately charged and pleaded guilty in November 2020 to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He serves 140 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution.

Abbas also admitted to conspiring with others in his plea agreement to defraud an individual in Qatar who was seeking a $15 million loan to build a school.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Wright ordered Abbas to pay $922,857 in restitution to the law firm’s victim and $809,983 in restitution to the businessman in Qatar.

Abbas and another co-conspirator defrauded the victim businessman and paid about $330,000 to fund an “investor account” to facilitate the loan. Abbas specifically instructed the victim to send $100,000 to a bank account controlled by an accomplice and $230,000 to the bank account of the luxury watch seller. Abbas used the funds for his own personal gain, including buying a $230,000 Richard Mille RM11-03 watch that he arranged to bring from New York to Dubai. The watch was seen numerous times on Abbas’s wrist on his now-defunct Instagram account, often with the hashtag #RichardMille.

Approximately $50,000 in proceeds from the scheme were used to fraudulently obtain St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis citizenship and a passport for Abbas through a sham marriage to a St. Kitts national.

In January and February 2020, Abbas and another co-conspirator corresponded with the victim businessman in an attempt to fraudulently pay $575,000 in alleged taxes to release a $15 million loan. In February 2020, the victim sent approximately $299,983 to bank accounts in Kenya named by another conspirator. In March 2020, Abbas tricked the victim into sending another $180,000 to US bank accounts. these funds were later laundered with the help of several accomplices.

“By his own admission, in just 18 months, the defendant conspired to launder more than $300 million,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Although most of this projected loss ultimately did not materialize, [Abbas’] His willingness and ability to participate in large-scale money laundering underscores the seriousness of his criminal conduct.”

The FBI investigated this matter as part of Operation Top Dog. The Federal Bureau of Investigation thanks the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Police Department for their significant assistance in this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Khaldun Shobaki of the Cyber ​​and Intellectual Property Crimes Unit. The Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice provided significant assistance in this matter.

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