An Instagram influencer has been jailed for more than 11 years for a global multi-million dollar scam targeting Premier League clubs.
Who is Ramon Abbas Known as Ray Hushpuppi by his followerswas sentenced to 135 months in prison by a California judge and ordered to pay more than $1.7 million (£1.5 million) to two fraud victims.
The Nigerian national was transferred to the United States to face charges more than two years ago after he was dramatically arrested by Dubai police in a raid on his home dubbed Operation Fox Hunt 2.
Abbas pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of conspiracy to launder money by committing online defrauds against U.S. and international victims.
Don Alway, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, described the 40-year-old internet personality as “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world.”
He used his “massive following” of about 2.8 million on Instagram to “bragging about the vast fortune he has made by conducting business email leak scams, online bank robberies and other online frauds”.
According to Mr Alway, some of the victims were “financially devastated” and his actions even helped the North Korean regime.
Premier League clubs
Prosecutors say Abbas tried to steal £100m from an unidentified Premier League club in May 2019.
He colluded with convicted Canadian money launderer Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, during the operation, which also targeted another British company.
In connection with the scheme, Abbas provided his co-conspirators with details of a Mexican bank account that “can handle millions without being frozen.”
North Korean regime
In January 2019, Abbas and Alaumary conspired to launder funds stolen from a bank in Malta by providing account information for other banks in Romania and Bulgaria.
The Malta cyber heist allegedly diverted funds to Pyongyang, and the U.S. has also charged three North Korean hackers in connection with the crime.
Abbas admitted that the expected loss of $14.7 million (£12.8 million) would be part of a total of £1.2 billion (£1 billion) the hackers are accused of trying to steal from banks in multiple countries.
top dog action
Other schemes include Abbas fraudulently enticing a New York law firm to transfer more than $922,000 (£804,000) into the accounts of co-conspirators on behalf of others, and attempting to defraud a Qatari man who wanted a $15 million loan to build a school. personal.
Among the luxury items Abbas paid for was a $230,000 (£200,000) Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which he regularly shows off on his Instagram account.
His death was the result of an FBI investigation called Operation Top Dog.
US lawyer Martin Estrada said: “Abbas has boasted on social media of his lavish lifestyle – a lifestyle driven by his involvement in transnational fraud and money laundering conspiracies targeting victims around the world. funded.
“Money laundering and commercial email scams are a huge international crime problem, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement and international partners to identify and prosecute those involved, wherever they are located.”
Alaumary is serving a 140-month sentence and was ordered to pay more than $30 million (£26.2 million) in costs after pleading guilty to conspiracy to launder money in November 2020.