AP

‘Hushpuppi’ gets prison term for money laundering conspiracy

Nov 7, 2022, 5:37 PM | Updated: 6:09 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Nigerian social media influencer who called himself Ray Hushpuppi and flaunted a lavish lifestyle fueled by his efforts to launder millions of stolen dollars was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles to more than 11 years in federal prison.

Ramon Abbas, 40, also was ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.7 million in restitution to two fraud victims, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Abbas was “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world,” Don Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in the statement.

Prosecutors said Abbas and a Canadian man laundered money from various online crimes including bank cyberheists and business email compromise, or BEC, a prolific crime in which crooks hack into email accounts, pretend to be someone they’re not and fool victims into wiring money where it doesn’t belong.

In 2019, he helped launder some $14.7 million stolen by North Korean hackers from a bank in Malta, funneling the money through banks in Romania and Bulgaria, prosecutors said.

He also helped launder millions of pounds stolen from a British company and a professional soccer club in the United Kingdom, got a New York-based law firm to transfer nearly $923,000 to a criminal account and acknowledged in a plea agreement that he helped defraud someone in Qatar who sought a $15 million loan to build a school, federal prosecutors said.

At Monday’s sentencing, Abbas was sentenced to to 135 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $922,857 in restitution to the law firm and $809,983 in restitution 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, although they said much of the intended loss “did not ultimately materialize.”

Abbas, under the name “Ray Hushpuppi,” had more than 2 million Instagram followers before he was arrested in 2020 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

His social media posts showed him living a life of luxury, complete with private jets, ultra-expensive cars and high-end clothes and watches.

“I hope someday I will be inspiring more young people to join me on this path,” read one Instagram post by Abbas, who pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, of Mississauga in Ontario, Canada, was charged separately. He pleaded guilty in 2020 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to nearly 12 years in federal prison and was ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

4 hours ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

2 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

2 days ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

6 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

7 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

‘Hushpuppi’ gets prison term for money laundering conspiracy