After a lengthy investigation by the USA's FBI with the assistance of Dubai police, Nigeria's Ramon Olorunwa Abbas who is popularly known as Hushpuppi on Instagram where he has over 2 million followers, has now been handed over to the FBI after Dubai police arrested him and his associates earlier during June 2020. Hushpuppi, who describes himself as a real estate developer, became very popular on Instagram given his regular posts displaying his material possessions while regularly thanking God for his "blessings."

Hushpuppi is being charged with multiple allegations of money laundering, computer hacking, wire fraud, identity theft, and bank fraud, among a list of charges. One allegation is also that Abbas and associates were looking to defraud an English Premier League football club off Β£100 million. However, what led to him being extradited to the USA is the allegation by the FBI that "Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019."

β€œIn 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7 billion in losses by companies and individuals victimized through business email compromise scams, the type of scheme Mr. Abbas is charged with conducting from abroad,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. β€œWhile this arrest has effectively taken a major alleged BEC player offline, BEC scams represent the most financially costly type of scheme reported to the FBI. I urge anyone who transfers funds personally or on behalf of a company to educate themselves about BEC so they can identify this insidious scheme before losing sizable amounts of money," said Nick Hanna, United States Attorney.

One of Hushpuppi's Instagram posts.

Nigeria's Yahoo Boys

It is rather sad that a country with a growing innovation and technology startup such as Nigeria is more popularly known for digital technology-related crimes. Better known in Nigeria as Yahoo Boys, these scammers use various methods on the Internet to scam unsuspecting people of their money under various pretenses.

Although there have been many speculations as to why being a Yahoo Boy is alluring to some young Nigerians, it is important to note that it is not only Nigerians that conduct Business E-mail Compromise scams on the Internet. A quick search on the FBI website lists many people of different nationalities being arrested for these scams, including some Americans.

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β€œThis was a challenging case, one that spanned international boundaries, traditional financial systems and the digital sphere,” said Jesse Baker, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Los Angeles Field Office. β€œTechnology has essentially erased geographic boundaries leaving trans-national criminal syndicates to believe that they are beyond the reach of law enforcement. The success in this case was the direct result of our trusted partnerships between the Department of Justice and our federal law enforcement colleagues. These partnerships helped dismantle a sophisticated organized crime group who preyed upon unsuspecting businesses. It is thanks to these partnerships that the American people can feel a bit more secure today.”

If found guilty of the alleged crimes to engage in money laundering, Hushpuppi would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in a USA federal prison.

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