The United States Department of Justice has narrated how Hushpuppi, a fraudster from Nigeria, bribed Nigeria’s celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
How it started
The statement from the office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said a federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week said Hushpuppi, with 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 finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar.
He also admitted to subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.
However, trouble began among Hushpuppi and other conspirators on the sharing formula of the money received after they played the roles of bank officials and created a bogus website to steal the $1,1m from the business person.
The dispute led one of the conspirators, Vincent, to inform the victim that Hushpuppi is a fraudster.
However, Hushpuppi, in retaliation, contacted Abba Kyari, to help arrest and jailed Vincent.
According to the statement released by the U.S., Hushpuppi transferred to Kyari’s account after the police officer sent him the photos of Vincent in prison.
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.”
Please read the full statement below:
Six Indicted in International Scheme to Defraud Qatari School Founder and then Launder over $1 Million in Illicit Proceeds.
Nigerian National Known as ‘Hushpuppi’ Admits Money Laundering in School Financing Scam and Additional Cyber and Business Email Compromise Schemes.
A federal grand jury indictment unsealed this week alleges an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar – and the subsequent laundering of illicit proceeds through bank accounts around the world.
The three-count indictment returned on April 29 and unsealed Monday charges three U.S.-based defendants who were arrested last week – as well as three defendants believed to be in Africa – with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
The criminal complaint that initiated the prosecution in February was also unsealed Monday, revealing that Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – also known by his social media handle of “Ray Hushpuppi” – was initially charged in this case. Court documents ordered unsealed today show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20. A version of Abbas’ plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in the school-finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.
“The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Mr. Abbas, who played a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means. In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will identify and prosecute perpetrators of business email compromise scams, which is a massive and growing international crime problem.”
“Mr. Abbas, among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad. Today’s announcement deals a crucial blow to this international network and hopefully serves as a warning to potential victims targeted with this type of theft.”
According to the indictment, Abbas allegedly conspired with Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to defraud the Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance construction of the planned school. Juma allegedly posed as a facilitator and consultant for the illusory bank loans, while Abbas played the role of “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker in New York, according to court documents. Vincent, in turn, allegedly provided support for the false narratives fed to the victim by, among other things, creating bogus documents and arranging for the creation of a fake bank website and phone banking line.
Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, a.k.a. “AJ,” 26, of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly played a role in the fraud, assisting Abbas with a call to the victim posing as “Malik.” Special agents with the FBI arrested Anifowoshe in New York on July 22.
The conspirators allegedly defrauded the victim out of more than $1.1 million.
The proceeds of the fraud allegedly were laundered in several ways. According to the indictment, Abbas was assisted in laundering the proceeds of the fraud by 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. These two defendants also were arrested on July 22 by FBI agents.
Approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s 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 fraudulently acquire a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts.
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.
Anifowoshe, Fashola and Agbabiaka were arrested in New York and New Jersey on July 22, and they are expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in August. All three are currently free on bond.
A criminal complaint and an indictment contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Both conspiracy counts alleged in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term.
The FBI is investigating this matter as part of Operation Top Dog. The FBI thanks the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Police Department for their substantial assistance in this matter. The FBI also thanks the Kenyan Office of Attorney General, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations for their substantial assistance.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.
PHOTOS: Fani-Kayode dines at residence of another Buhari’s Minister
Since Thursday when his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was made public, Femi Fan-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, has been under fire.
From Social media to traditional media, the former critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party, has been lampooned.
But FFK has waved critics aside, sharing pictures of his visit to the residences of key APC figures.
On Saturday, he released pictures of his visit to Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, whom he had labelled a terrorist and asked Buhari to sack a few months ago.
While the dust raised by the post is yet to settle, Fani-Kayode released fresh pictures of his visit to the residence of George Akume, Minister of Special Duties.
Armed gang invade Lagos streets, injure many, loot shops
Mushin area of Lagos State was yesterday, thrown into commotion as some armed gang invaded some streets, inflicting injuries on residents and destroying property worth millions of naira.
It was gathered one person died in the mayhem that forced churches within the affected communities to close for fear of being attacked.
Information had it that a notorious armed robber was arrested sometime by the police and was transferred to Abuja. But his release was allegedly facilitated by some big shots he worked for.
After his release, his loyalists from the Idi-Araba area of the state reportedly invaded some areas of Mushin to attack some persons whom they accused of being the cause of his arrest. The areas affected were Alafia, Daniel and Morgan.
A resident, who simply gave his name as Mitchy, explained that “the fight has been going on since midnight (Saturday)and the perpetrators came from Idi-Araba. This has been happening for almost six months. But last night and today’s(Sunday) were the most violent.
“Surprisingly, the armed thugs were teenagers between 16 and 19 years. They looted people’s shops and carted away goods. They were armed with machetes, guns and bottles.
“Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Alafia junction and Christ Gospel Apostolic Church on Da-Silva street could not conduct Sunday service.”
It was gathered teams of policemen from the Tactical Unit of the Lagos State Police Command were ordered by the Commissioner of Police, CP Odumosu to contain the situation.
When contacted, the command spokesman, CSP Ade Ajisebutu, said 15 suspects had been arrested in connection with the clash. He said axes, cutlasses and expended cartridges were recovered in the process.
According to Ajisebutu, “Normalcy has returned to the area. CP Odumosu has assured residents to go about their lawful businesses. At the end of an investigation, the suspects will be charged to court.”
Ondo Govt seals off Shoprite, popular market
The Ondo State Government has sealed off Shoprite and the neighborhood market in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The popular facilities were sealed on Monday by the Ondo State Waste Management Authority, ODSWMA, over what was described as unsanitary and unhygienic practices.
A few days ago, the agency had taken similar action against five notable buildings in the state for flouting the environmental laws of the state.
Shoprite, which is located on Igbatoro road in Akure and the Neighborhood market at NEPA axis of the State capital, were accused of ignoring a series of warnings from the agency.
The General Manager of the Authority Mrs Ayo Adeyemo, who disclosed this, said the owners of the affected facilities violated environmental laws and failed to comply with the laid down hygienic practices.
Adeyemo, who maintained that further sanctions would be taken, warned that anyone found culpable will not be spared
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