Is it just or me or is there a new influencer being convicted of something every other month??
Internet celebrity Ramon Abbas, or better known as Hushpuppi, has pleaded guilty in a United States court. Although his arrest was over a year ago, he recently confessed to committing crimes of money laundering and could face up to 20 years in prison.
The convicted social media influencer who has 2.5m followers on his Instagram account (which he is still allowed to use) fronted as a real estate developer who portrayed the lavish life of someone achieving immense success but in fact facilitated his opulent lifestyle through crime. Abbas was part of a criminal syndicate that swindled victims out of an estimated U$24m (N$336m) and attempted to launder hundreds of millions from cybercrime schemes.
With humble criminal beginnings as a “Yahoo Boy”, the ambitious Hushpuppi got a taste for the lavish lifestyle by committing fraud in Oworonski, a coastal area in the north-east of Lagos. A Yahoo Boy (named after the internet company Yahoo!) is a term used for someone who carries out 419 frauds. A very common form of fraud Hush performed was Business Email Compromise (BEC).
The affidavit describes BEC schemes as often involving a computer hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account. They then end up blocking or redirecting communications to and from that email account using the compromised email account. In addition to this they may also make use of a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer. Essentially Hushpuppi would act as if he was a legitimate Banker and would request funds to be transferred into his bank account to complete business projects.
The aspiring yet humble ‘Billionaire Gucci Master’ had put in 10,000 hours into his craft and decided to step into the big leagues. According to the (U.S) Justice Department Hush has connected himself to the Lazarus Group, a cybercrime syndicate from North Korea.
This group is infamous for ALMOST orchestrating the largest cyber bank heist in the world, the Bangladesh bank robbery. Abbas attempted to launder U$15m (about N$210m) stolen by the gang of North Korean hackers from the Maltese Bank of Valetta.
Seeing someone flaunt their extravagant fugazi lifestyle on Instagram does NOT prove that they are who they say they are. From the Dan Bilzerian’s to the more recent Hushpuppi’s, a lot of these illegitimate social media influencers seem to come out of thin air, making outlandish claims about how much money they make whilst being vague about where it comes from. Ultimately, being so braggadocios on social media is what caused his demise.
To end of on a caption from a Hushpuppi Instagram post,
“If you knew my whole story, you’d be proud of me!”