A social media influencer who called himself Ray Hushpuppi and bragged about a lavish lifestyle fueled by his efforts to launder millions of stolen dollars, has been sentenced in Los Angeles to federal prison for more than 11 years.
Federal judge Ramon Abbas, 40, also ordered $1.7 million in damages to two fraud victims, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.
Don Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in the statement that Abbas was “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world.”
Prosecutors said Abbas, a Nigerian, and a Canadian man laundered various crimes online, including online bank robbery and business email hacking, or BEC, a prolific crime in which fraudsters hack into email accounts, pretending to be someone they aren’t. like that. Deceiving victims to transfer money to money that does not belong to them.
Prosecutors said that in 2019, he helped launder $14.7 million, which North Korean hackers stole from a bank in Malta, and transferred the money through banks in Romania and Bulgaria.
He also helped launder millions of pounds stolen from a British company and professional football club in the UK, got a New York-based law firm to transfer nearly $923,000 into a criminal account, and admitted in a plea agreement that he helped defraud someone in Qatar. who sought a $15 million loan to build a school, federal prosecutors said.
In Monday’s sentencing, Abbas was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $922,857 in damages to the law firm and $809,983 in compensation to the victim in Qatar.
“In his personal admission, in just an 18-month period the defendant conspired to launder more than $300 million,” prosecutors wrote in the sentencing memorandum, though they said much of the intended loss “was ultimately not realized.”
Abbas, who goes by the name Ray Hushpuppi, had more than two million followers on Instagram before he was arrested in 2020 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. His social media posts showed that he lives a luxurious life, with private planes, expensive cars, luxury clothes and watches.
“I hope one day I will inspire more young people to join me on this path,” reads Abbas, who pleaded guilty in April 2021 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Ghaleb Al-Omari, 37, of Mississauga in Ontario, Canada, was charged separately. Prosecutors said he pleaded guilty in 2020 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering. He was sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison and paid more than $30 million in damages.