National & International

Hushpuppi: Nigerian influencer pleads guilty to money laundering

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Nigerian Influencer Ramon Abbas- otherwise known as Hushpuppi , 37, is a social media influencer known to post his lavish lifestyle on Instagram. He has 2.5m followers where he posts pictures and videos of his spending on exotic cars, watches, designer clothes, bags from luxury brands like Gucci, Fendi and Louis Vuitton. There’s also pictures of himself boarding helicopters, with celebrities, footballers and Nigerian politicians or while on charter jets.

This sparks up controversy on how nowadays most social media influencers only get to the top of the social ladder and get that status as ‘influencer’ by doing some shady dealings we don’t know about . In order to maintain a luxurious lifestyle for appearance they do things like laundering money to get there.

Hushpuppi ,  who is facing criminal charges in the United States of conspiracy to launder money obtained from business email frauds and other scams.

He also illegally transferred $14.7M from a foreign financial institution and targeted to steal $124M from an English football club until he was arrested by the Dubai police in June 2020.

In one of his many schemes, Hushpuppi attempted to steal more than $1.1m from someone who wanted to fund a new children’s school in Qatar, the documents said. The court records unsealed this week have shown that he pleaded guilty to this charge on 20 April.

It is stated that that between 18 January 2019 and 9 June 2020, Hushpuppi and his other accomplices targeted multiple victims and laundered the illicit funds in banks all over the world.

It is said that Hushpuppi could face up to 20 years in prison, he will also need to “pay full restitution to the victim(s)” that were affected by his notorious scams.

Acting United States Attorney Tracy Wilkinson said Hushpuppi “played a significant role” in the scam, “funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists”.

It is said by Kristi Johnson, acting director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office that Hushpuppi was one of the “most high-profile money launderers in the world”.

This shows that what you see on Instagram is not what it seems, the lush lifestyle is often a public façade to gain followers. In some cases like this , influencers turn to criminal activity to maintain appearances. Unknowing followers are instead intimated by the success they see on social media, and aspire for that themselves, oblivious to how that lifestyle is maintained.

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