The 40-year-old social media influencer became known for a lavish lifestyle supported by money laundering. The Nigerian social media influencer who called himself Ray Hushpuppi and bragged about a lavish lifestyle supported by laundering millions of dollars was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles to more than 11 years in prison and has to pay $1.7 million to two fraud victims.
Abbas, who goes by the name “Ray Hushpuppi,” had more than two million Instagram followers before he was arrested in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in 2020. His social media posts showed him living a luxurious life with private jets, expensive cars, classy clothes, and watches.
Abbas was “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world,” Don Alway, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in the statement.
Prosecutors said Abbas and a Canadian man laundered money from various online crimes, including bank cyberheists and business email compromise (BEC), a widespread corruption in which crooks hack into email accounts, pretend to be someone they are not and trick victims into transferring money where it does not belong.
In 2019, prosecutors said that he helped launder about $14.7 million stolen by North Korean hackers from a bank in Malta and routed the money through banks in Romania and Bulgaria.
He also helped launder millions of pounds stolen from a British company and a professional soccer club in the United Kingdom, caused a New York-based law firm to transfer nearly $923,000 to a criminal account, and admitted in a plea agreement that he helped defraud someone in Qatar who was applying for a $15 million loan to build a school, prosecutors said.
In July 2021, a senior Nigerian police officer, Abba Kyari, was suspended by the country’s police commission after the FBI filed charges linking him to Abbas.
At Monday’s sentencing, Abbas was sentenced to 135 months in prison and ordered to pay $922,857 in restitution to the attorney’s office and $809,983 to the Qatar victim.
“By his admission, the defendant laundered over $300 million in just 18 months,” the prosecution wrote in a sentencing memorandum, although much of the intended loss “ultimately did not materialize.”
“I hope that one day I can inspire more young people to join me on this path,” an Instagram post by Abbas, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money in April 2021, read.
Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was charged separately. He pleaded guilty in 2020 to one count of conspiracy to launder money, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to nearly 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution.