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Scammer Hushpuppi pleads guilty to fraud

Hushpuppi arrested by Dubai police in June 2020

By Dennis Erezi

Nigerian scammer Ramon Olorunwa Abbas also known as Hushpuppi has pleaded guilty to fraud in an American court.

United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in a statement on Wednesday said court documents show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20.

A version of Hushpuppi’s plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in a school finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.

Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said Hushpuppi allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off.

Wilkison stated that Hushpuppi played “a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means.”

Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office said Hushpuppi “among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans.

“His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad,” Johnson said in the DoJ statement.

Hushpuppi and members of his gang were arrested while sleeping at their Dubai residences in June 2020.

The Nigerian fraudster was arrested along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others.

Dubai police said 12 suspects were arrested in six simultaneous raids carried out by its e-police unit.

The police said Hushpuppi and the gang were responsible for Dh1.6 billion (about N169 billion) fraud involving over 1.9 million victims.

Items worth N15.845 billion (Dh 150 million) were also seized.

13 luxury cars worth N2. 640 billion (Dh 25 million), 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 memory storage devices, 5 external hard drives and 800, 000 emails of potential victims were also recovered from the gang during the arrest.

Hushpuppi and members of his gang were extradited to the United States in July 2020.

-Guardian

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