The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has revealed how Nigerian fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, was caught committing fresh fraud and laundering over $400k while being imprisoned in the United States.
KanyiDaily recalls that on July 28, 2021, Hushpuppi had pleaded guilty to “Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering,” amongst other charges brought against him by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (USAO).
The Instagram celebrity is facing criminal charges for conspiracy to launder money obtained from business email compromise frauds and other scams, including schemes that defrauded a US law firm of about $40 million.
He was also accused of illegally transferring $14.7 million from a foreign financial institution, and targeting to steal $124 million from an English football club until his arrest by the Dubai Police in June 2020 and his extradition to the United States.
Hushpuppi, who is yet to be sentenced, risks “20 years’ imprisonment; a 3-year period of supervised release; a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offence”.
Hushpuppi Commits Fresh Fraud In US Jail
On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, an FBI agent presented court documents showing that Hushpuppi committed fraud and laundered $429,800 in U.S Federal correctional facility.
The court documents stated that Hushpuppi, while in the US prison, participated in the purchase and laundering of Economic Impact Payment debit cards fraudulently obtained from stolen data of U.S citizens and residents.
Economic Impact Payments are financial support offered by the US government to U.S residents according to the CARES Act. One of the ways eligible US residents receive their Economic Impact Payments is by debit cards.
From the documents presented in court, it was found that hackers use data of U.S residents to file and obtain Economic Impact Payments debit cards. They sell off these EIP cards in underground marketplaces to other cybercriminals.
The US authorities said that although prisoners have limited access to telephone, video, internet and computer use because of their right to privacy in a court filing. Like the rest of the detainees, Hushpuppi was granted access to the computer network as well.
However, between January 28 and March 4, 2022, security authorities at a federal prison in the United States noticed that Hushpuppi was using the internet more often.
A dedicated system was setup for him and his activities were recorded for 7 days.
It was found that Hushpuppi was actively buying EIP debit cards from an underground cyber criminal marketplace called StimulusCard (“https://stimuluscard.com/”).
While being recorded, Hushpuppi bought a total of 58 EIP debit cards with a total value of $429,800 on the site and laundered the money through one AJ.
The court document said, “ABBAS gave instructions to AJ on what to shop online. He gave instructions on what to do with the purchased items. ABBAS also gave instructions on cash withdrawal from ATMs with the plastic cards.
“One of the communications between ABBAS and AJ were as follows ABBAS: “Guy hw fr? You don receive the 5 new EIP cards?” AJ: “Yes bro” ABBAS: “Ok. Try pull out all the funds today.” AJ: “Fin on it already. Done 2 already.” ABBAS: “Nice one. What about the online purchase for yesterday? I say make you focus on iPhones 13 and PS5. Those ones dey very easy to resell.” AJ: “Yes. I finished that last night. Emptied the cards on Amazon. Iphones and PS5. I already received the 6 Macbook Air and 3 iPad Pro I ordered 3 days ago. My guys came pick them up this looming.” ABBAS: “Aiit. I go send you more EIP cards today.” After this conversation, ABBAS went ahead to buy more Economic Impact.”
See screenshots of documents below:
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KanyiDaily had reported how Hushpuppi was arrested in the United Arab Emirate, Dubai on June 10, 2020, alongside 11 of his associates over allegations bordering on hacking, impersonation, scamming, banking fraud, and identity theft.
The fraudster was subsequently extradited to the US after the UAE police detailed his arrest in a special operation dubbed ‘Fox Hunt 2’ where he was accused of defrauding over 1.9 million victims to the tune of $435.6 million (N168 billion).
Amongst other charges, Hushpuppi and his accomplices were also accused of conspiring to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club.
On July 4, 2020, Hushpuppi was charged with the conspiracy to commit money laundering before a US court, an offense that attracts a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment if convicted.