What happened to Hushpuppi heard Man is gone was mobbed please someone should verify the news.
Ramon Abbas – known to his 2.5 million Instagram followers as Hushpuppi – is considered by the FBI to be one of the world’s most high-profile fraudsters and faces long charges in the US after pleading guilty to money laundering up to 20 years in prison.
The BBC uses newly obtained court documents to reveal the man behind the cyber heist that has cost victims millions, from his humble Nigerian ‘Yahoo Boy’ scammer to the so-called ‘billionaire Gucci guru’ ‘, who lived at Luxury performing in Dubai before his arrest last year.
The 37-year-old started his career in Oworonshoki, an impoverished coastal region northeast of Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos. Local driver Seye told the BBC he remembered Abbas working at the Olojojo market with his mother as a child. His father was a taxi driver.
Thayer said Abbas was happy to spend money as he got older: “He was generous. But everyone knew the source of his mysterious wealth — cybercrime; he was a “Yahoo,” Seye said.
‘Yahoo Boys’ are romance scammers whose names come from Nigeria’s first free email. “They came up with the idea of stealing the identity. Then they started dating this identity theft [scam],” Dr. explained. Adedeji Oyenuga, a cybercrime expert at Lagos State University.
Romance scammers extort money from their online lovers once a relationship is established through a false identity.
Like many Yahoo boys, Abbas broadened his criminal horizons. Many went to Malaysia – and Abbas followed them, ending in Kuala Lumpur around 2014 and then in Dubai in 2017.
North Korean hackers
It was then that his Instagram posts and criminality took another level. In February 2019, he attempted to launder 13 million euros (£11 million; $15 million), which was stolen from the Bank of Valletta in Malta by a gang of North Korean hackers.
Abigail Mamo, executive director of the Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, said the raid had thrown the holiday island into “chaos”.
With the payment system shut down, carts full of items were left at the checkout. “We got calls from members telling us they were sending money to overseas suppliers through the Bank of Valletta platform,” Ms Mamo said. “Your foreign supplier didn’t receive the money… we’re talking thousands of euros.”
The bank said it managed to recover 10 million euros. “Damn,” Abbas said in a text message to another scammer at the time, in information obtained by the FBI.
The response indicated that the next robbery was planned: “The next one is in a few weeks; I’ll let you know when it’s done. Too bad they caught up, otherwise it would be a nice payoff.” In May 2019, Abbas was hired to open a bank account in Mexico.
It will receive £100m from a Premier League football club and £200m from a British company. Neither were mentioned in court documents. These scams were supposed to be conducted through Business Email Compromise (BEC).
Shockingly, BEC works by intercepting payments via fake emails that appear to come from addresses that almost exactly match the supplier’s address. Just a letter or number will make a difference.
In the email, the scammer impersonates a supplier waiting for payment, usually saying that they have changed banks and therefore need to transfer the payment to a different account. They will handle the details.
The clerk is fooled into believing the supplier’s request is legitimate – losing a lot of money with the click of a mouse.
But the Premier League scam fell apart when British banks refused to fund Mexican accounts. “Bro, I can’t ship from the UK to Mexico,” Abbas’ friend told him. “They always find out.”
Neither Premier League club would confirm whether they were the intended victims.
‘Shame on the professionals’ Jon Shilland, head of fraud at the National Crime Agency, said tracking criminal networks in multiple jurisdictions could be difficult.
Dubai lawyer Barney Almazar is well aware of this fact.
He represented around 25 people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including eight British nationals, who all believed to be victims of the Hushpuppi BEC scam.
“But if you look at the bank accounts that the police have been tracking, they are all part of the records obtained by the police during the raid on [Hushpuppi’s home in Dubai].”
A British victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said he lost £500,000 and was forced to leave the United Arab Emirates – and he himself faces criminal proceedings in Dubai for defrauding debts.
“His client understood that he was a victim,” explained Mr Almazar. “But they also have to make up for the loss, so at the moment he doesn’t know how to return to the UAE. He has spent his life in the UAE. His family is still in the UAE. He fears that he might come back after the immigrant is arrested immediately.”
Mr Almazar said the stigma was preventing more Hushpuppi victims from coming forward. “This scam is very sophisticated. Professionals are being harassed. Some are reluctant to admit what happened.”
Qatar school scam
Abbas’ last major scam before his arrest in Dubai in June 2020 was blatant identity theft, modeled after his youthful Yahoo boy romance scam.
He posed as a New York banker to catch his victims, a Qatari businessman seeking a $15 million loan to build a new school in the Gulf state.
Between December 2019 and February 2020, Abbas and a group of alleged middlemen lured victims out of more than $1 million in Kenya, Nigeria and the United States.
Part of that was whitewashed by buying a staggering $230,000 worth of watches.