Nigerian influencer and Instagram star, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas popularly known as Hushpuppi has pleaded guilty to money laundering in a US court.
Hushpuppi, 37, is facing charges related to a scheme that targeted a US law firm, a foreign bank, and an English Premier League soccer club.
Prosecutors wrote in an affidavit in court that Abbas used “business email compromise” schemes and “cyber-heists” using third-party “money mules,” to launder money through a series of bank accounts.
Court documents filed in a California court said Hushpuppi’s crimes cost victims almost $24m (£17m) in total.
In one scheme he is facing charges on is his attempt to steal more than $1.1m from someone who wanted to fund a new children’s school in Qatar, the document said.
Prosecutors also alleged that Abbas defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019 after he and a co-conspirator “tricked a paralegal” into wiring them money that was intended for the client’s real estate refinancing.
Abbas also conspired to launder funds from a $14.7 million “cyber-heist” that struck a foreign financial institution in February 2019.
He and his co-conspirators also intended to steal $124 million from an unidentified soccer club, prosecutors wrote.
According to court records unsealed this week the Instagram star pleaded guilty to the charges in April this year.
Hushpuppi was arrested in Dubai, where he lived, in June 2020 and expelled from the United Arab Emirates. He was taken into custody by the FBI when he landed in Chicago on July 2, 2020.
He had a verified Instagram account with the username “hushpuppi” with 2.4 million followers and 540 posts at the time of his arrest.
On his account he showed private jets, luxury cars, and designer clothes, which are also mentioned in the criminal complaint.
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If he is convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas could face up to 20 years in an American federal prison.