An Instagram influencer has been jailed for more than 11 years for a global multi-million dollar scam targeting a Premier League club.
Ramon Abbas Known by his followers as Ray Hushpuppiwas sentenced to 135 months in prison by a California judge and ordered to pay more than $1.7m (£1.5m) to two victims of fraud.
The Nigerian national was transferred to the US to face charges after his dramatic arrest by Dubai police in a raid dubbed Operation Fox Hunt 2 more than two years ago.
Abbas pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of money laundering conspiracy to commit online fraud against U.S. and international victims.
Don Alway, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, described the 40-year-old influencer 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 his vast fortune through business email leak scams, online bank robberies and other online fraud”.
According to Mr Alway, some of the victims were “economically devastated” and his operations even provided aid to the North Korean regime.
Premier League club
Prosecutors say Abbas tried to steal £100m from an unidentified Premier League club in May 2019.
He conspired with convicted Canadian money launderer Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, in the operation, which also targeted another British company.
Regarding the scheme, Abbas provided his co-conspirators with details of a Mexican bank account that “could handle millions and not freeze.”
North Korean regime
In January 2019, Abbas and Alaumary conspired to launder funds stolen from a bank in Malta by providing account information at other banks in Romania and Bulgaria.
Funds from the Malta cyber heist are said to have flowed to Pyongyang, and the United States has charged three North Korean hackers with links to the crime.
Abbas conceded expected losses of $14.7m (£12.8m), which would be part of a total of £1.2bn (£1bn) that hackers are accused of trying to steal from banks in many countries.
big dog action
Other schemes included Abbas fraudulently enticing a New York law firm to transfer more than $922,000 (£804,000) in another’s name into the accounts of co-conspirators and trying to defraud a Qatari man who wanted a $15m loan to build a school s individual.
Among the luxuries Abbas has spent on is a $230,000 (£200,000) Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which he often shows off on his Instagram account.
His death was the result of an FBI investigation called Operation Top Dog.
U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said: “Abbas boasted on social media of his lavish lifestyle — a lifestyle that was funded by his involvement in a transnational fraud and money laundering scheme against victims around the world.
“Money laundering and commercial email compromise 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 140 months in prison and was ordered to pay more than $30m (£26.2m) after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in money laundering in November 2020.