Nigerian influencer “Billionaire Gucci Master” — AKA Ramon Abbas AKA “Ray Hushpuppi” — has been sentenced to 11 years in U.S. prison for money laundering and fraud.
The social media star, famous for his lavish lifestyle that included luxury cars and private jets, had over 2.8 million Instagram followers before he was arrested.
In an official release regarding the case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) referred to Abbas, 40, as “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world.” Over the course of 18 months, Abbas and his co-conspirators laundered over $300 million by engaging in various fraudulent activities, including online bank heists.
The guilty parties also committed the crime of business email compromise (BEC), which involves hacking into legitimate email accounts, then persuading unsuspecting victims to wire money.
According to Abbas, only $300,000 of the $300 million actually found its way into his accounts.
Among the schemes perpetrated by Abbas and his co-conspirators was the illegitimate financing of a Qatari school. An unnamed British soccer team was also victimized.
Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison explained that the defendants “[played] the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website [for the Qatari school financing] in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off.”
Abbas has taken a plea deal. Among his co-conspirators are Abdulrahman Imraan Juma — AKA “Abdul” — 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria.
26-year-old Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe — AKA “AJ” — of Brooklyn, New York also played a role in the Qatari school-funding scam, playing the role of “Malik.”
The FBI shared key details about how Abbas personally benefitted from the scheme, and how his social media played a role in his capture. About $230,000 of the stolen funds were allegedly used to purchase Abbas a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand delivered to him in Dubai.
After its delivery, the watch began conspicuously appearing in Hushpuppi’s social media posts. Other illicit proceeds seem to have been cashed in for cashier’s checks, including $50,000 that was used by Abbas and one of his co-conspirators to fraudulently obtain St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship. In addition to his false citizenship paperwork, Abbas acquired a passport and a fake marriage license prior to bribing a government official in St. Kitts.
The FBI noted this ongoing case is part of Operation Top Dog.
The agency specifically thanks the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Dubai Police Department for their “substantial assistance” throughout the investigation.
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