Social Media Influencer Hushpuppi Sentenced to Jail in US for Money Laundering 

O. Adejo

Ramon Abbas, a Nigerian social media influencer popularly known as Ray Hushpuppi and known for flaunting a lavish lifestyle supported by millions of dollars in laundering, has been sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison.

According to a statement from the United States Department of Justice, a federal judge also ordered Abbas to pay $1.7 million in restitution to two fraud victims. 

According to prosecutors, Abbas and a Canadian man by name Ghaleb Alaumary, laundered money from a variety of online crimes, including bank cyberheists and business email compromise, or BEC, a common crime in which crooks hack into email accounts, pretend to be someone they are not, and trick victims into wiring money where it does not belong.

Also in 2019, he allegedly assisted in the laundering of $14.7 million stolen by North Korean hackers from a bank in Malta, via banks in Romania and Bulgaria.

Ray Hushpuppi and Ramon Abbas

Abbas was also involved in the laundering of millions of pounds stolen from a British company and a professional football club in the United Kingdom, convinced a New York-based law firm to transfer nearly $923,000 to a criminal account, and admitted in a plea agreement that he assisted in the defrauding of someone in Qatar seeking a $15 million loan to build a school, according to federal prosecutors.

Following an FBI indictment linking him to Abbas, Nigerian supercop Abba Kyari was suspended by the police service commission in July 2021. There were calls for his extradition to stand trial, but this never happened.

Abbas was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison on Monday and ordered to pay $922,857 in restitution to the law firm and $809,983 to the victim in Qatar.

He had over 2 million Instagram followers before being arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2020. His lavish lifestyle was fully documented on social media, complete with private jets, ultra-expensive cars, and high-end clothes and watches.

Separately, Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was charged. Prosecutors said he pleaded guilty in 2020 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering. He received a nearly 12-year federal prison sentence and was ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution.

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