A man who flaunted his lavish lifestyle on Instagram has been accused of stealing millions of dollars from major companies through cyber crime.
Ramon Abbas, who lived at the exclusive Palazzo Versace in Dubai, regularly showed off private jets, designer clothes and luxury cars to his 2.5 million followers on Instagram, where he went by the name Ray Hushpuppi.
Abbas apparently had so much money that he could throw it around like confetti, which is exactly what he did in one video, and he claimed to earn his cash through working as a real estate developer.
While his extravagant posts may have left people wanting to get into the real estate game themselves, a federal affidavit alleges Abbas’s wealth actually comes from hacking schemes used to steal millions from companies in the US and Europe.
Though pulling off the crimes would mean he’s well versed in computer technology, apparently the accused man didn’t realise that he was building a case against himself with every social media post.
In the affidavit, cited by CNN, authorities explained how his social media accounts provided information that confirmed his identity and led to his arrest. They gained an email and phone number from his Instagram, and managed to link them to financial transactions and transfers with people the FBI believed were his co-conspirators.
Elsewhere, Abbas’s Apple and Snapchat records confirmed his identity, address and communications with other suspects. A post shared on Abbas’s birthday helped investigators verify his date of birth, which was listed on a previous US visa application.
Abbas, who is originally from Nigeria, is believed to have led a global network that used computer intrusions, business email compromise schemes and money laundering to steal hundreds of millions of dollars. In a post on Facebook, Dubai Police stated they seized nearly $41 million, 13 luxury cars worth $6.8 million, and phone and computer evidence.
United Arab Emirates investigators arrested Abbas last month before handing him over to FBI agents who flew him to Chicago on July 2. Abbas will soon be transferred to Los Angeles, where the affidavit was filed, to face accusations of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through cyber crime schemes.
Abbas was one of 11 people arrested in relation to the crimes, and investigators uncovered email addresses of nearly two million possible victims on phones, computers and hard drives.
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What y’all think about my new bespoke black badge Rolls-Royce Wraith? Lol. This post is to everyone who has been made to feel low about themselves, to those who has been told will never amount to anything, to those who has been looked down upon, I want you to know today that as long as you don’t see yourself as low as they make you seem, as long as you have a valid dream and work hard, and most importantly if you believe in God, you can achieve anything and everything. This post is specially dedicated to all Hushpuppi fans worldwide, to those who don’t know me and has defended and supported me in anyway or the other, to my real friends JJ, Rawflesh, OvaWise, Debo Bentley, SK, Hp and S.p of Ghana and all those that I can’t mention, God bless you all. Make una repost and congratulate me o make my success loud pass my failures and shortcomings 🤣 #RollsRoyce #Bentley #Wraith #Bentayga #BlackBadge #Versace m
Speaking about the case in a statement, US Attorney Nick Hanna said:
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.
Abbas’s bond hearing is set to take place tomorrow, July 13. If convicted of money laundering, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
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