A resident of Dubai who flaunted his extravagant lifestyle on social media is likely to be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks to raise money laundering fees.
Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, alias "Ray Hushpuppi" and "Hush", a Nigerian citizen, arrived in Chicago on Thursday evening and appeared in Chicago on Friday for the first time before a US court after being expelled from the United Arab Emirates had been office.
Abbas was held without a bond until the next hearing in Chicago on July 7th. Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the Central District of California U.S. Attorney General, said he was asked to make an application only after he arrived in Los Angeles.
He is accused of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from email compromise fraud and other scams, including plans against a US law firm, a foreign bank, and an English Premier League football club.
It was unclear on Friday whether Abbas had retained a lawyer or hired a lawyer from the Chicago Public Defender's Office.
Abbas was arrested by UAE law enforcement officers last month. Earlier this week, FBI special agents were given custody of Abbas and brought him to the United States to face a money laundering conspiracy alleged in a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Attorney General on June 25.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Abbas maintains social media accounts that often showed him in designer clothes, wore expensive watches, and posed in or with luxury cars and charter jets.
"The FBI's investigation has shown that Abbas is funding this opulent lifestyle through crime and is one of the leaders in a transnational network that facilitates computer interventions, fraudulent systems (including BEC systems) and money laundering, and appeals to victims around the world. Hundreds of plans to steal millions of dollars, "says the affidavit.
The affidavit describes BEC systems so that a computer hacker often gains unauthorized access to a company's email account, blocks or redirects communication to and / or from that email account, and then the compromised email Mail account or a separate fraudulent email account used for communication uses a victim's agent and tries to convince them to make an unauthorized transfer.
"BEC programs are one of the most difficult cyber crimes we encounter, as they typically affect a coordinated group of fraudsters around the world who are experienced in computer hacking and the exploitation of the international financial system," said US lawyer Nick Hanna The case is aimed at a major player in a large, transnational conspiracy who lived an opulent lifestyle in another country and was reportedly a safe haven for stolen money worldwide. As this case shows, my office will continue to hold such criminals accountable no matter where you live. "
"In 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $ 1.7 billion in losses from businesses and individuals who were victims of compromise email fraud. This type of program is said to oversee Abbas," said Paul Delacourt, deputy director of the lot of the FBI branch of Angeles.
"While this arrest has effectively taken a large suspected BEC player offline, BEC scams are the most financially expensive type of system that has been reported to the FBI. I urge anyone who transfers money personally or on behalf of a company to do so Inform BEC so that it can Identify this insidious scheme before you lose significant amounts of money. & # 39; & # 39;
"This was a challenging case that spanned international borders, traditional financial systems and the digital realm," said Jesse Baker, a special agent for the United States Secret Service's Los Angeles office.
"The technology has essentially lifted geographical boundaries so transnational criminal syndicates believe they are out of the reach of law enforcement."
The affidavit also alleges that Abbas conspired to launder money stolen from a foreign financial institution in February 2019 in a $ 14.7 million cyber robbery. including a plan to steal about $ 124 million from an English Premier League football club.
If Abbas is convicted of money laundering conspiracy, he faces a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in federal prison.