The US Department of Justice has said that suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Igbalode-Abbas aka Ray Hushpuppi and his co-conspirators attempted to scam an English Premier League club of $124 million (approximately N48 billion).
The DoJ’s claim was contained in court documents filed before the US District Court for the Central District of California on Friday, where the Dubai-based Hushpuppi was arraigned on charges of laundering 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.
Known for flaunting his opulent lifestyle on Instagram, the Nigerian was arrested in June in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an operation codenamed “Fox Hunt 2”.
In court documents, the DoJ alleged, “Abbas maintains social media accounts that frequently showed him in designer clothes, wearing expensive watches and posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets.
“The FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas finances this opulent lifestyle through crime.”
He is accused of operating what is known as a business email compromise (BEC) scheme, hacking corporate emails and tricking staff into making money transfers.
Revealing more details of the alleged crimes, the DoJ alleged that Hushpuppi “and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100m (approximately $124m) from an English Premier League soccer club.”
However, the identity of the EPL club was not revealed.
“BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cyber crimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system.
“This case targets a key player in a large, transnational conspiracy who was living an opulent lifestyle in another country while allegedly providing safe havens for stolen money around the world. As this case demonstrates, my office will continue to hold such criminals accountable, no matter where they live,” US Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement.
If convicted, Hushpuppi faces up to 20 years maximum prison sentence.