Nigerian Influencer ‘Ray Hushpuppi’ Gets 11 Years In Prison For Money Laundering
A Nigerian influencer, known on social media as “Ray Hushpuppi,” will spend a decade in a prison cell instead of the luxury hotel rooms he flaunted online.
On Monday (Nov. 7), a federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 40, to more than 11 years in federal prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Abbas was “a prolific international fraudster” who funded his lifestyle by laundering millions of dollars through online scams, the DOJ said. In addition to a prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II ordered Abbas to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution to two victims.
At his April 2021 trial, Abbas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Abbas has been in custody since his arrest in June 2020 in the United Arab Emirates.
“Abbas bragged on social media about his lavish lifestyle – a lifestyle funded by his involvement in transnational fraud and money laundering conspiracies targeting victims around the world,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said.
Two months before sentencing, Abbas sent a handwritten letter to Wright expressing remorse.
“Since I have been incarcerated, I have had enough time to reflect on the past and I regret letting greed ruin the good name of my family, my blessing and my name,” he wrote, according to CNN.
Prosecutors said Abbas’ long list of crimes included conspiring with others to defraud an individual in Qatar who sought a loan of $15 million to build a school. In October 2019, Abbas and a co-conspirator also “fraudulently induced” a New York law firm to transfer nearly $923,000 to an account they controlled under someone else’s name.
Abbas drew scrutiny through his social media posts that included a photo of himself on a private jet decked out in luxury clothing brands like Gucci. In fact, on Snapchat, Abbas called himself the “Billionaire Gucci Master.”
“Started out my day having sushi down at Nobu in Monte Carlo, Monaco, then decided to book a helicopter to have … facials at the Christian Dior spa in Paris then ended my day having champagne in Gucci,” he wrote in a photo caption on Instagram in 2020, according to CNN.
It all came to an end for Abbas when a United Arab Emirates investigator arrested him at the Palazzo Versace resort in Dubai and handed him over to FBI agents.