United States authorities, on Friday, said an English Premier League club is among the victims Nigerian fraudster Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, was planning to defraud.
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US Department of Justice said Hushpuppi will face criminal charges, alleging that he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and the football club.
“Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges,” the Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday.
Huspuppi was arrested in June, along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry, and 10 others.
The 12 suspects were arrested in six simultaneous raids carried out by the e-police unit of the Dubai Police.
The gang was responsible for about N169 billion fraud involving over 1.9 million victims.
Items worth N15.845 billion were also seized from the suspects.
About 13 luxury cars worth N2. 640 billion, 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 memory storage devices, five external hard drives and 800, 000 emails of potential victims.
Their arrest in an operation codenamed Fox Hunt 2, came after about four months of painstaking investigations into their activities, during which their social media activities were monitored by the highly trained police unit.
The Dubai Police said Hushpuppi and his gang specialise in hacking corporate emails, and then send fictitious messages to the clients of the companies, whose email accounts they have hacked to redirect financial transactions and bank details to their own accounts.
“This was a challenging case, one that spanned international boundaries, traditional financial systems and the digital sphere,” Jesse Baker, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Los Angles Field Office, said.
The DoJ affidavit alleges that Hushpuppi 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.
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DoJ said Hushpuppi and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing, to a bank account that was controlled by him and the co-conspirators.
He and Woodberry were extradited to the United States this week, to face charges of money laundering.
If convicted, Hushpuppi will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.