Nigerian National Brought to U.S. to Face Charges of Conspiring to Launder Hundreds of Millions of Dollars from Cybercrime Schemes

           Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, a.k.a. “Ray Hushpuppi” and “Hush,” a Nigerian national and Dubai resident who flaunted his extravagant lifestyle on social media has arrived in the United States to face criminal charges alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.

            The feds claim that Abbas had social media accounts that showed him in designer clothes, wearing expensive watches, and posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets. The feds claim that BEC schemes often involved a computer hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer. The feds claim that Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019. Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators. The feds also claim that Abbas conspired to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world. Abbas allegedly provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe that Abbas anticipated each would receive €5 million (about $5.6 million) of the fraudulently obtained funds. Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges.

Abbas  is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

            If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas faces a maximum 20 year sentence in federal prison.

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