Instagram Star “Hushpuppi” Faces BEC Charges

A social media star known for his ostentatious displays of wealth is set to be charged in the US with conspiracy to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from BEC and other fraud schemes.

Nigerian national Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, (aka “Ray Hushpuppi” and “Hush”) was expelled from his home in the United Arab Emirates last week after being arrested there by police in June.

FBI special agents obtained custody of him and brought him to the US to face the charges.

They claim that Abbas financed his luxury lifestyle through cybercrime.

Specifically, he’s accused of being part of a BEC scheme that cost a New York law firm $922,857 in October 2019, after criminals hacked an internal account and used it to convince a paralegal to wire money intended for a client’s real estate refinancing.

Abbas is also accused of providing two European bank accounts intended for the laundering of over $11m in illegally obtained funds from a $14.7m cyber-heist at a foreign bank in February 2019.

He is said to have conspired to steal hundreds of millions more from other targets including a plot to scam an English Premier League football club out of £100m ($124m).

“BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cybercrimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system,” said US attorney Nick Hanna.

“This case targets a key player in a large, transnational conspiracy who was living an opulent lifestyle in another country while allegedly providing safe havens for stolen money around the world. As this case demonstrates, my office will continue to hold such criminals accountable, no matter where they live.”

BEC accounted for more criminal losses than any other type of cybercrime last year. Scammers made nearly $1.8bn in 2019, over half the total $3.5bn lost to cybercrime, according to the FBI.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?