July 3 (UPI) —
Federal prosecutors in California filed money laundering and financial fraud charges Friday against a Nigerian national from United Arab Emirates who flaunted his lavish lifestyle to millions of followers on social media.
On his Instagram account “hushpuppi” and under the Snapchat handle “hushpuppi5,” Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, posted photos of himself that showed him “in designer clothes, wearing expensive watches, and posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets,” according to a federal arrest affidavit filed in June in the Central District of California.
Abbas and unnamed conspirators are accused of acquiring millions of dollars through financial fraud schemes including emails scams. They also hijacked accounts and laundered money stolen from a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said.
Abbas posted inspirational messages to his 2.4 million followers on Instagram, thanking God for his success and crediting his hard work.
“As long as you have a valid dream and work hard, and most importantly if you believe in God, you can achieve anything and everything,” Abbas wrote in February, 2019, accompanied by a photo of himself in a purple bathrobe standing in front of a Rolls Royce and a Bentley.
Abbas was arrested last month by UAE law enforcement officials, prosecutors said. FBI special agents earlier this week took Abbas into custody and brought him to the United States to face a charge of conspiring to engage in money laundering.
The FBI identified Abbas as one of the leaders of a “transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes, and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars,” a statement released Friday by the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
In October, 2019, Abbas and others allegedly defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 by tricking a paralegal into wiring money, prosecutors said. Abbas also allegedly conspired to launder money stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019. He also participated in a scheme to steal $124 million from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges
If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a sentence of 20 years in federal prison.