It looks like this Instagram influencer’s lavish lifestyle has cost him his freedom.
Ray Hushpuppi, born Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, is a Nigerian National and up against a world of trouble after he pleaded guilty on April 20 to money laundering scams.
Hushpuppi used his platform to allegedly take advantage of his followers by luring them into scams that involved cyber and business email compromise schemes as well as a school financing scam.
According to reports, the criminal complaint against Ray Hushpuppi reveals that he was behind an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson who attempted to pay for the construction of a school for children in Qatar.
“The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison in a written statement.
The 37-year-old’s alleged actions resulted in a loss of more than $24 million, according to court documents.
Per the court documents, nearly $230,000 of the funds that were stolen was not only used to purchase a Richard Millie RM11-03, but the jewelry was also hand-delivered to Hushpuppi in Dubai. He also took to Instagram to flash his new jewelry.
Hushpuppi and a co-conspirator used the other proceeds obtained from the scheme to obtain a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship along with a passport, false marriage certificate, and to bribe a St. Kitts government official.
“Mr. Abbas, who played a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means. In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will identify and prosecute perpetrators of business email compromise scams, which is a massive and growing international crime problem.”
During his plea deal, filed last week, Ray Hushpuppi admitted that he played a role in those money laundering schemes.
“Mr. Abbas, among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetuating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans,” continued Kristi K. Johnson, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Ray Hushpuppi was allegedly able to finesse his large following into allowing him access to organizations which in turn made his schemes seem legitimate.
View this post on Instagram
“His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad,” continued Johnson. “Today’s announcement deals a crucial blow to this international network and hopefully serves as a warning to potential victims targeted with this type of theft.”
According to court documents, “Both conspiracy counts alleged in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term.”