Nigerians on social media have reacted after the United States Department of Justice revealed hours ago Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, faces 20 years’ imprisonment for suspected money laundering from his various cybercrime schemes worth $435m (N168bn).
According to a statement by the US DOJ on Friday, Abbas, 37, arrived in Chicago Thursday evening after being “expelled from Dubai”.
The suspect, Hushpuppi who was known for flaunting his expensive lifestyle on social media, was said to have made his initial US court appearance on Friday morning in Chicago and he was expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
Abbas, alongside his accomplices, including Olalekan Ponle (aka Woodberry), was arrested by officials of the Dubai Police and Interpol on June 10 for a series of crimes like money laundering, fraud, hacking of websites and accounts, impersonation and banking fraud.
Police said the suspects scammed over 1.9 million people in a fraudulent scheme worth $435m (N168bn). Thirteen luxury cars, estimated at N3.7bn; 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 storage devices, and five hard disks containing data were recovered from the house where they were arrested.
Hushpuppi 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 DOJ 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.
In the DOJ statement, US Attorney Nick Hanna, said in 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7bn 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 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 $14.7m cyber heist from a foreign financial institution in February, 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world.
Below are some hilarious reactions from Nigerians:
A Trendy Rammy wrote “This one stole all the money that belongs to his generation . Whenever a G boy is caught, they need to arrest his gf or spouse for aiding and abettin”
One Sir Eltee wrote “The puppi that refused to hush 🤫 By the time he finishes his jail sentence and come out, he would forget his IG password. Same place he was busy showing off! If you can do the crime, be prepared to do the time!”
One Ajayi wrote “He will definitely humble by force after serving the 20 years term”
One Tianna Cherry wrote “Why being loud when your source of income is not genuine… I feel this is a spell on fraudsters cos they are naturally loud on social media”
One Deji wrote “Congrats bro. The only Nigeria with no visa in the USA. Wetin I don try 3timess”