Ramon Abbas AKA Hushpuppi documented his trips to expensive restaurants and private jets.
A Nigerian influencer known for documenting his lavish lifestyle has pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.
Hushpuppi, whose real name is Ramon Abbas, accepted the charges in a US court on April 20, according to documents filed in California.
The documents state that Abbas scammed people out of more than $24m in total. The 37-year-old was arrested in Dubai, where he lived, in June 2020 after being tracked down by the FBI.
Abbas’ 2.5m follower strong Instagram account was a key part in him being found, and it features pictures of luxury cars, private jets, and designer clothing. He hasn’t posted anything since June 2020.
In one of Hushpuppi’s schemes, he attempted to steal $1.1m from a business person who wanted to finance a new school in Qatar.
The influencer has been charged alongside two other people based in the US, and a further three believed to be in Africa, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
“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.
She added that Abbas played “a significant role in the scheme” and “funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means.”
Hushpuppi was described by Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, as “among the most high-profile money launderers in the world,” and his guilty plea is “a crucial blow to this international network.”