How Hushpuppi used proceeds of fraud to acquire second citizenship

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United States authorities have disclosed that Nigerian fraudster Ramon Olorunwa Abbas known as Hushpuppi used the proceeds of fraud to acquire second citizenship.

US Department of Justice (DoJ) in a statement said Hushpuppi and other conspirators defrauded a Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance the construction of a school for $1.1 million.

DoJ said Huspuppi used proceeds from the fraud to acquire citizenship in St. Christopher and Nevis, an island nation also known as St. Kitts and Nevis.

According to the indictment document, Hushpuppi used approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to him in Dubai and subsequently appeared in his social media posts.

Other illicit proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks that were used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to obtain a passport by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts.

Hushpuppi was arrested earlier in June last year along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry, and 10 others.

The 12 suspects were arrested in six simultaneous raids carried out by the e-police unit of the Dubai Police.

The gang was responsible for Dh1.6 billion (about N169 billion) fraud involving over 1.9 million victims. Items worth N15.845 billion (Dh 150 million) were also seized.

13 luxury cars worth N2. 640 billion (Dh 25 million), 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 memory storage devices, 5 external hard drives and 800, 000 emails of potential victims were also recovered from the gang.

Their arrest in an operation codenamed Fox Hunt 2 came after about four months of painstaking investigations into their activities., during which their social media activities were monitored by the highly trained police unit.

The video posted by the Dubai Media Office said their police were able to track the locations of the suspected fraudsters using their social media activities.

DoJ said Hushpuppi has pleaded guilty to fraud, according to court documents.

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