Socialite Ramon Olorunwa Abbas better known as Ray Hushpuppi has made his first court appearance in Chicago court on Friday following his arrest last month over alleged cyber fraud.
In June, Hushpuppi and some of his associates were arrested by Dubai after 4 months of tailing and monitoring them.
Hushpuppi and one of his arrested associates, Woodberry were later extradited to the United States to face prosecution for their alleged crime.
Read Also: Hushpuppi And Woodberry Extradited To US
According to a complaint filed on June 25 by federal prosecutors made available on US Department of Justice’s website, the Dubai resident who is known for flaunting his extravagant lifestyle on social media has arrived in the United States to face criminal charges.
It is stated that he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.
The 37-year-old arrived in Chicago on Thursday evening after being extradited from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
After his initial U.S. court appearance on Friday, he is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
According to an affidavit filed any federal prosecutors;
The FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas finances this opulent lifestyle through crime, and that he is one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.
The affidavit describes BEC schemes as often involving a computer hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer.
United States Attorney Nick Hanna stated that;
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.
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.
Also speaking, Paul Delacourt, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office stressed;
In 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7 billion in losses by companies and individuals victimized through business email compromise scams, the type of scheme Mr. Abbas is charged with conducting from abroad.
While this arrest has effectively taken a major alleged BEC player offline, BEC scams represent the most financially costly type of scheme reported to the FBI.
In addition, the affidavit alleges that Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019.
Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators.
According to the affidavit, Abbas conspired to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world.
He also provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe that Abbas anticipated each would receive €5 million (about $5.6 million) of the fraudulently obtained funds.
Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club.
If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Source: United States Department of Justice.