Nigerian influencer Ramon Abbas-also known as Hushpuppi-has pleaded guilty to money laundering in a US court.
Hushpuppi, 37, is known for posting photos of his luxurious lifestyle on Instagram, where he has 2.5 million followers.
Court documents filed in California stated that Hushpuppi’s crimes cost the victims a total of nearly 24 million U.S. dollars (17 million pounds).
According to the document, in a plan, Hushpuppi tried to steal more than 1.1 million U.S. dollars from people who wanted to fund a new children’s school in Qatar.
Court records in Kaifeng this week show that he pleaded guilty to the charge on April 20.
The document states that between January 18, 2019 and June 9, 2020, Hushpuppi and others targeted multiple victims and laundered money in banks around the world.
They added that he could face up to 20 years in prison and need to “compensate the victim in full.”
Hushpuppi was arrested in Dubai, where he lives, in June 2020.
exist A statementActing U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkinson said Hushpuppi and others “fake the school’s financing by playing the role of bank officials and creating a fake website”.
They also “bribered a foreign official in order to continue to carefully disguise the victim after being informed.”
Hushpuppi, who said she “played an important role” in the scam, “funded his extravagant lifestyle by laundering the illegal proceeds generated by the scammer.”
Christie Johnson, acting director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said Hushpuppi is “one of the most high-profile money launderers in the world.”
She said that his “celebrity status and ability to establish connections penetrated into legal organizations and led to several spin-off plans in the United States and abroad.”
His plea was “a major blow to this international network.”