[BREAKING] Hushpuppi makes first appearance in US Court, faces 20 years in Prison

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The Department of Justice in the United States has disclosed that Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, faces 20 years jail term for suspected money laundering from his various cybercrime worth $435million equivalent to N168billion.

The US Justice Department in a statement on Friday, said Abbas, 37, arrived in Chicago Thursday evening after being “expelled from Dubai”.

It revealed that the suspect has made his first appearance in US court on Friday morning in Chicago.

It was however gathered that the suspect is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

Recall that Hushpuppi, alongside his accomplices, including Olalekan Ponle (aka Woodberry), was arrested by Dubai Police officials and Interpol on June 10 for a series of crimes like money laundering, fraud, hacking of websites and accounts, impersonation and banking fraud.

According to the Police, the suspects scammed over 1.9 million people in a fraudulent scheme worth $435million.

It said thirteen luxury cars, estimated at N3.7billion; 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 flash drives, and five hard disks containing data were recovered from the house where they were arrested.

The suspect was subsequently handed over to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday and extradited to the US, where he faces criminal charges alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a US law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.

The US Justice Department said a criminal complaint was filed on June 25 by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles after FBI’s investigation showed that Abbas financed this opulent lifestyle through crime and that he was one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitated computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.

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In the statement the Justice Department, US Attorney Nick Hanna, said in 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7billion in losses by companies and individuals victimised through BECs, “the type of scheme Mr Abbas is charged with conducting from abroad.”

In the affidavit filed against Mr Abbas, it was alleged that he defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019.

The affidavit also alleged that Abbas conspired to launder funds stolen in a $14.7million cyber heist from a foreign financial institution in February, 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world.

The statement read in part, “Abbas allegedly provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe that Abbas anticipated each would receive €5million (about $5.6million) of the fraudulently obtained funds.

“Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100million (approximately $124million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges.”

“If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison,” the Justice Department said.

The statement also disclosed that Hushpuppi was being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Anil J. Antony and Joseph B. Woodring of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.

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