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Nigerian Instagram Star Extradited to U.S. Over Role in Cybercrime Schemes

A Nigerian national who has more than 2.5 million followers on Instagram, where he flaunts his lavish lifestyle, was extradited from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and appeared in court in the United States to face cybercrime-related charges.

The man, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, who is also known as “Ray Hushpuppi” and “Hush,” is accused of targeting multiple organizations, including a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club, to perform business email compromise (BEC) fraud. He is also charged with conspiracy to launder money from business email compromise (BEC) and other schemes.

Abbas was arrested last month by UAE authorities and the FBI brought him to the U.S. to face charges, after taking custody of him last week. A criminal complaint against him was filed on June 25 in Los Angeles.Hushpuppi on Instagram

An affidavit filed with the complaint alleges that Abbas and co-conspirators engaged in a BEC scheme that resulted in a client of a New York-based law firm wiring in October 2019 roughly $922,857 to an account controlled by the miscreants.

The affidavit also claims that Abbas conspired to launder money that was stolen in February 2019 as part of a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution. The stolen funds were sent to bank accounts worldwide.

As part of the scheme, Abbas is said to have provided two bank accounts in Europe to a co-conspirator. Each of the accounts was expected to receive €5 million (approximately $5.6 million) of the stolen funds.

Furthermore, Abbas is believed to have conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars that were illegally obtained from other fraudulent schemes and computer hacking. One of the schemes targeted an English Premier League soccer club to steal £100 million (roughly $124 million).

The affidavit also underlines the fact that Abbas was active on social media, where he posted images depicting the opulent lifestyle he lived through cybercrime.

The photos show Abbas wearing designer clothes and expensive watches. He would also pose with luxury cars and charter jets, the Department of Justice noted.

Abbas faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

Related: Nigerian Man Charged With Cyber Fraud Against US Companies

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