Hushpuppi's Arrest Was Due To a $430M 'Cyberscam'

Updated Tuesday 30 June 2020 9:36
Hushpuppi's Arrest Was Due To a $430M 'Cyberscam'
Out of all the colorful characters in internet folklore, few are as well-known as the scam-tastic influencers. You know, the kind who recommend you buy their multi-step programs to build wealth, hack financial markets, or magically amass fortunes by being a positive ray of light in today's dark world. As it turns out, many of these folks' social accounts are nothing but facades to lucrative (and oftentimes corrupt) businesses. Case in point, 38-year-old Instagram influencer Raymond "Hushpuppi" Abbas, who was just arrested for his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar "cyberscam," per various reports. Also, he's apparently a big car guy. Surprise, surprise!

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Judging from his IG profile, which as of this writing stands at 2.4 million followers strong, Abbas prefers the finer things in life, such as private jets, luxury hotels, and, of course, lots of luxury and exotic cars ranging from G-Wagens to Ferraris and several Rolls-Royces. Here's a sample of the kind of machinery we're dealing with here.

It's a lavishly impressive fleet for a "property developer" who apparently started out trading second-hand clothes in Lagos, Nigeria. Unfortunately, that's also probably what police thought when they started investigating him months ago.

Abbas was arrested last week by the FBI, Interpol, and Dubai police over an alleged scheme that involved "money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, and scamming" to the tune of $430 million. Eleven other suspects were also detained in the raid which saw the seizure of more than $37 million cash from Abbas' apartment and over a dozen luxury cars. 

Scrolling through his Insta (and keeping in mind that this dude just had 37 mill literally lying around), the "luxury cars" in question definitely weren't C-Classes. Police reportedly found almost two million victim email addresses on "dozens" of phones, computers, and hard drives.

Police also say that Abbas' social media presence was a key part of his victim-procurement process. "After verifying available information, the team [tracked] the gang including 'Hushpuppi,' who celebrated his wealth via social media...under a businessman facade, in an attempt to lure victims from all over the world," said Dubai police criminal investigation director Jamal Salem Al Jallaf.

"The suspects also targeted victims overseas by creating fake websites for well-known companies and banks in a bid to steal victims' credit card information and then launder the stolen money."

Fighting fire with fire, Al Jallaf also told the press that anti-cybercrime task force detectives tracked down Abbas and his group via fake social media accounts. According to Dubai media, Abbas will be extradited to Nigeria to face charges. 

What will happen to his collection of luxury vehicles remains to be seen, but we wouldn't be surprised if a whole bunch of Rolls-Royces come to auction by the Dubai government.

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