Hushpuppi Is Officially Charged By US Federal Prosecutors For Fraud, Faces 20 Years In US Jail

Hushpuppi Is Officially Charged By US Federal Prosecutors For Fraud, Faces 20 Years In US Jail

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas a.k.a. "Ray Hushpouppi" is now facing a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in U.S. federal prison after being extradited from Dubai to the United States.

In a statement published by the U.S. Department of Justice, the alleged Nigerian fraudster was accused of attempting to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in business email compromise (BEC) fraud and other crimes, including strategies involving the U.S. law firm, the international bank and the English Premier League soccer club.

Hushpuppi made his first appearance at the U.S. trial in Chicago this week, and is supposed to be moved to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

Federal prosecutors who issued a criminal complaint filed on 25 June reported that the alleged Nigerian fraudster was "one of the members of a transnational network that promotes electronic intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes) and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes intended to rob hundreds of millions of dollars."

It was also alleged that Hushpuppi funded his opulent lifestyle of designer suits, sporting costly watches, posing in or with luxurious cars and charter jets by fraud.

The statement partly read; 

"BEC schemes as often involving a computer hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer.

 “BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cyber crimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “This case targets a key player in a large, transnational conspiracy who was living an opulent lifestyle in another country while allegedly providing safe havens for stolen money around the world. As this case demonstrates, my office will continue to hold such criminals accountable, no matter where they live.

“In 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7 billion in losses by companies and individuals victimized through business email compromise scams, the type of scheme Mr. Abbas is charged with conducting from abroad.

"Technology has essentially erased geographic boundaries leaving trans-national criminal syndicates to believe that they are beyond the reach of law enforcement. The success in this case was the direct result of our trusted partnerships between the Department of Justice and our federal law enforcement colleagues. These partnerships helped dismantle a sophisticated organized crime group who preyed upon unsuspecting businesses. It is thanks to these partnerships that the American people can feel a bit more secure today.”

Hushpuppi and his alleged co-conspirators accused of sponsoring a BEC scam that defrauded a customer of a New York-based law firm of nearly $922,857 in October 2019. Ray and the co-conspirators reportedly manipulated one of the law firms into transferring money meant for the client's real estate refinancing to a bank account under their influence.

He was also convicted of attempting to launder funds looted from a global financial company in February 2019 in a $14.7 million cyber heist, which diverted the stolen money to bank accounts around the world. Abbas reportedly presented a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe, one of which he planned to earn € 5 million (about $5.6 million).

The alleged Nigerian fraudster had since conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from various criminal activities and computer intrusions, including one plan to rob £ 100 million (approximately $124 million) from the English Premier League soccer club, the lawsuit claims.

The prosecution is being investigated by Assistant United States Attorneys Anil J. Antony and Joseph B. Woodring of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Division. But if he was guilty of a scheme to participate in money smuggling, Hushpuppi would face a mandatory maximum term of 20 years in federal jail.

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