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An infamous influencer fraudster has been thrown in jail for 11 years after an FBI bust brought his daring criminal schemes crashing down.
Ramon Abbas, who goes by the name Hushpuppi, was living the high life in Dubai with money he gained through money laundering – all of which he posted about on Instagram.
Now the 38-year-old Nigerian is emotionally battling with the reality of his jail term after pleading guilty to his involvement in several crimes, which generated profits of around £17 million.
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Abbas gained 2.5 million followers on the social media site watching him live a life of luxury with flash cars, extravagant watches and clothes.
His car collection featured a Bentley, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maybach.
He has not posted on the account since police raided his luxury hotel apartment at the Palazzo Versace on Dubai Creek in 2020.
One of his scams saw an attempt to steal more than £800,000 from a wealthy benefactor looking to fund a children’s school in Qatar.
In one of his most outlandish criminal efforts, Abbas also worked in a gang to get an unnamed English Premier League team to hand over £100m in 2019.
Both his phone and computer records contained email addresses of nearly two million possible victims.
Following an international police investigation, they uncovered almost £29 million in cash on his arrest.
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Assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles department, Donald Alway, said: “Abbas leveraged his social media platforms, to gain notoriety and to brag about the immense wealth he acquired by conducting business email compromise scams, online bank heists and other cyber-enabled fraud that financially ruined scores of victims and provided assistance to the North Korean regime.”
Abbas was told by Judge Otis Write to pay around £1.5million in restitution to two fraud victims.
“By his own admission, during just an 18-month period defendant conspired to launder over $300million,” prosecutors insisted in a court filing as part of the sentencing today.
His wife, Regina Manneh, had pleaded for her husband and father of her son not to be jailed.
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She said: “When I heard about his arrest, my son and I were in Sweden visiting family. Unfortunately, there was a lockdown due to Covid and before we got back to Dubai, he was already extradited to the USA so there was no chance for Raymond to see his father
“As a mother, this breaks my heart for my son because he is at an age where he is aware of things and that his father is not with him physically.
“Usually after the call ends, Raymond gets emotional and just hugs me.
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“And all I can do is offer emotional support to my son that is struggling to navigate his feelings during these hard times.”
When he was arrested in 2020, he was strangely allowed to keep his social media account.
Posting an image of himself just two weeks before he was arrested, he said: “Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings in my life. Continue to shame those waiting for me to be shamed.”
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