Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hushpuppi an equal opportunity criminal; we’re using him as scapegoat to deter other Yahoo Boys: FBI 

• September 8, 2022
Ramon Abbas
Ramon Abbas ‘Hushpuppi’ [Photo Credit: Instagram]

The case of popular Internet fraudster Ramon “Hushpuppi” Abbas would be a deterrent to other money launderers and fraudsters, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has said.

This is disclosed in the court documents presenting the government’s sentencing position for Mr Abas submitted before the United States District Court for the Central District Of California ahead of his September 21 trial on Wednesday.

“He was an equal opportunity criminal, his intended and actual victims ranging from a small law firm to a businessperson seeking to build a school, to a bank, to a professional soccer club,” the 17-page document said. “Whoever the victim, with no regard for nature of the underlying crime or the identity of the criminals who he was helping, defendant was ready to pose as a banker, lie to victims, or provide bank accounts to stash the proceeds of crime. Defendant’s conduct was reprehensible and deserves serious punishment.”

The FBI said Mr Abbas’s case was “an opportunity to send a message to others who consider this “a game worth playing” and one that is unlikely to result in meaningful consequences.”

The U.S. prosecutors insisted that Mr Abbas chose to lead a life of crime as he had a clear chance to be law-abiding.

Prosecutors asked the federal judge to sentence Mr Abbas to 11 years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a multinational conspiracy that earned him millions of dollars between 2019 and 2020. 

They also asked that Mr Abbas pay $1.7 million in restitution, $500,000 in fines, and $100 in administrative fees.

Led by Khaldoun Shobaki, prosecutors spoke about Mr Abbas’s influence on social media, saying he “made a living and cultivated a following by using his ill-gotten gains to create an extravagant lifestyle.”

The FBI said Mr Abbas’ Instagram had 2.8 million followers, gaining 500,000 more followers than at the time of his arrest in Dubai. 

It stressed that his sentence would act as a deterrent to other fraudsters “that the risk of spending substantial time in prison in the United States outweighs the potential financial benefits of their crimes” as Mr Abbas had got international attention, evident in the media’s coverage of his ordeal since 2020.

In April, the United States Bureau of Prisons informed Peoples Gazette that half the number of Nigerians in its facilities had been convicted and sentenced for fraud.

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