The United States Department of Justice has narrated how Hushpuppi, a fraudster from Nigeria, attempted to bribe Nigeria’s celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
A federal grand jury indictment revealed this week that Hushpuppi, real name Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, admitted to being part of an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a business person attempting to fund the construction of a school for children in Qatar, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office.
Hushpuppi also admitted to laundering criminal proceeds through bank accounts around the world, according to a statement acquired by Ng Times.
However, Hushpuppi and other conspirators ran into problems with the money they got when they pretended to be bank officials and constructed a phony website to steal $1,1 million from the businessman.
During the argument, one of the conspirators, Vincent, revealed to the victim that Hushpuppi was a scam artist.
In revenge, Hushpuppi approached Abba Kyari to assist in the arrest and imprisonment of Vincent.
Hushpuppi paid money to Kyari’s account after the police officer provided him images of Vincent in prison, according to a statement released by the US.
The statement said: Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud.
After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria.
According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest.
Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”
An sophisticated conspiracy to steal more than $1.1 million from a business person intending to fund the construction of a school for children in Qatar, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week, and the subsequent laundering of unlawful proceeds through bank accounts throughout the world.
Three defendants arrested last week in the United States, as well as three defendants believed to be in Africa, are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and aggravated identity theft, according to a three-count indictment returned on April 29 and unsealed Monday.
The criminal complaint that sparked the investigation in February was also unsealed Monday, revealing that Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – also known as “Ray Hushpuppi” on social media – was charged in the case at the outset.
Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pled guilty on April 20, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.
Abbas’ guilty deal, which was entered late Tuesday, details his role in the school-finance fraud, as well as multiple other cyber and business email compromise operations that resulted in losses totaling more than $24 million.
“In a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off, the defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison.
Mr. Abbas, who was a key figure in the scam, financed his lavish lifestyle by laundering unlawful earnings generated by increasingly adept con artists.
We will identify and prosecute perpetrators of corporate email compromise frauds, which are a significant and increasing international crime problem, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners.”
Today’s announcement is a major setback for this transnational network, and it should serve as a caution to potential victims of identity theft.”
According to the indictment, Abbas conspired with Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to mislead a Qatari businessperson by posing as consultants and bankers who could help finance the proposed school’s construction.
According to court records, Juma acted as a facilitator and adviser for the fictitious bank loans, while Abbas pretended to be “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker in New York. Vincent, in turn, is accused of providing support for the victim’s fraudulent tales by fabricating documents and arranging for the development of a phony bank website and phone banking line, among other things.
Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, a.k.a. “AJ,” 26, of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly assisted Abbas with a call to the victim acting as “Malik.” Anifowoshe was apprehended by FBI special agents in New York on July 22.
The fraud’s proceeds were allegedly laundered in a variety of ways. Rukayat Motunraya Fashola, a.k.a. “Morayo,” 28, of Valley Stream, New York, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka, a.k.a. “Bolamide,” 34, of Linden, New Jersey, allegedly aided Abbas in laundering the proceeds of the fraud. On July 22, FBI investigators apprehended these two criminals as well.
Approximately $230,000 of the stolen monies were allegedly used to buy a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and afterwards featured in Hushpuppi’s social media posts.
Other proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to fraudulently obtain citizenship in St. Christopher and Nevis, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by fabricating a false marriage certificate and bribing a government official in St. Kitts.
According to court documents, a disagreement among conspiracy participants caused Vincent to call the victim and say that Abbas and Juma were committing fraud. Following this meeting, Abbas allegedly arranged for Vincent to be imprisoned in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46.
Mr Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force, according to the affidavit, who is accused of arranging for Vincent to be detained and jailed at Abbas’ request, and then sending Abbas images of Vincent following his detention.
Mr Kyari is also accused of sending Abbas bank account information for a bank account into which Abbas could deposit cash for Vincent’s arrest and detention.
Anifowoshe, Fashola, and Agbabiaka were detained on July 22 in New York and New Jersey, and they will be arraigned in Los Angeles in August. They’re all out on bail right now.
An indictment and a criminal complaint both contain charges that a defendant has committed a crime. Until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, every defendant is presumed innocent.
Both conspiracy counts in the indictment carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison under federal law. A mandatory two-year prison sentence is imposed for aggravated identity theft.
As part of Operation Top Dog, the FBI is looking into this case. The FBI expresses its gratitude to the UAE government and the Dubai Police Department for their invaluable help in this case.
The FBI also appreciates the assistance provided by the Kenyan Attorney General’s Office, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
Assistant United States Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section is prosecuting this case. The Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division was extremely helpful in this case.