Nigerian social media influencer Ramon “Hushpuppi” Abbas has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for a money laundering scheme that saw him net hundreds of millions of dollars, in what prosecutors call “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world.”
Abbas, 40, was also ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.7 million in restitution to the fraud victims, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Social Media Influencer “One Of The Most Prolific Money Launderers In The World,” Prosecutors Say
Prosecutors say Abbas an a Canadian man laundered money via online crimes, including everything from bank cyberheists to business email compromise – where crooks hack into company email accounts, assume the identity of the account holder, and fool victims into sending money into his accounts.
His victims span several countries over a period of several years, the Associated Press reports.
In 2019, he helped to launder $14.7 million in funds stolen from a bank in Malta by North Korean hackers, having funneled the money through banks in Bulgaria and Romania, prosecutors claim.
#Nigerian influencer Ray #Hushpuppi, who boasts of a lavish lifestyle backed by the laundering of millions of dollars, was sentenced Monday in #LosAngeles. pic.twitter.com/SRx90PbRcV
— Al-Estiklal English (@alestiklalen) November 8, 2022
He also reportedly got a New York-based law firm to wire upwards of $923,000 to a criminal account, while also helping launder millions of pounds stolen from a professional soccer club in the United Kingdom.
In a plea agreement, Abbas acknowledged that he also helped defraud a victim in Qatar, who sought a $15 million loan to build a school according to federal prosecutors.
“Hushpuppi” Receives 11 Years In Federal Prison, Ordered To Pay Millions In Restitution To Victims
During his sentencing hearing on Monday, Abbas received 135 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $922,857 to the New York law firm and another $809,983 to the victim in Qatar.
“By his own admission, during just an 18-month period defendant conspired to launder over $300 million,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. However, they noted much of the intended loss “did not ultimately materialize.”
Abbas was already well known online before his crimes came to light, having more than two million instagram followers as “Ray Hushpuppi” before he was arrested in Dubai back in 2020.
Famous Nigerian socialite, Hushpuppi has finally been sentenced!
The United States Central Dostrict Court on California dished out 11 years to Ramon Abass.#ASUUstrike #ifeanyiisalive #BeatSapaWithJumia #hushpuppi pic.twitter.com/oLEDbLkEHL
— AbiolaTrends (@Abiola_Trends) November 4, 2022
He ultimately pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Social Media Influencer Who Had Over 2 Million Instagram Followers Boasted Private Jets, Fancy Cars
The influencer boasted a life of luxury, and showed off expensive cars, private jets, designer clothes and watches on his social media accounts.
“I hope someday I will be inspiring more young people to join me on this path,” read one Instagram post by Abbas prior to his arrest.
Abbas’ Canadian accomplice, identified in court papers as Ghalib Alaumary, 37, of Ontario, was charged separately and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering in 2020, according to prosecutors.
Alaumary was sentenced to nearly 12 years in federal prison, and was ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution.