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Fraud Instagram influencer jailed for 11 years in US

Picture Courtesy: Instagram

An Instagram influencer from Nigeria has been jailed for more than 11 years in the US for his role in an international fraud syndicate. Ramon Abbas, who goes by the name, Hushpuppi, flaunted his wealthy lifestyle on his page which had 2.8 million followers until it was disabled.

The LA judge also ordered him to pay $1,732,841 in restitution to two fraud victims. Last year he pleaded guilty to money laundering. Abbas admitted to attempting to steal more than $1.1m from someone who wanted to fund a new children's school in Qatar, court documents in California say.

Hushpuppi tricked his victim into providing funds for the school "by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website”. Other suspects were allegedly also involved, the US justice department said, with Abbas playing a key role.

Abbas also admitted to "several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses", the US justice department said.

Don Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office said, “Ramon Abbas... targeted both American and international victims, becoming one of the most prolific money launderers in the world. Abbas leveraged his social media platforms... to gain notoriety and to brag about the immense wealth he acquired by conducting business email compromise scams, online bank heists and other cyber-enabled fraud that financially ruined scores of victims and provided assistance to the North Korean regime.”

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