Hushpuppi: How Criminal Mastermind Nearly Stole $124m From Premier League Club

Internet fraudster Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, masterminded an audacious bid to scam an English Premier League club according to indictment papers released by United States law enforcement authorities.

According to the US Department of Justice, Hushpuppi and his team of scammers hatched a fraudulent plan to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League side.

The scheme, US authorities said, was one of several fraudulent schemes being actively planned by Hushpuppi and his criminal enterprise before they were apprehended and for which they will face criminal charges.

Hushpuppi was arrested in the United Arab Emirates last month but was extradited to the US on Thursday, 2 July where he faces several criminal charges for fraud and money laundering.

The unnamed EPL club was one of several businesses including a US law firm and a foreign bank targeted by Hushpuppi and his gang of global scammers who authorities say specialised in business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

“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 US Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday.

The 37-year-old Abbas, more commonly known as Huspuppi was arrested along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others.

All 12 suspects were arrested in six simultaneous raids carried out by the e-police unit of the Dubai Police.

A video put out by Dubai Police alleges that the suspects defrauded over 1.9 million victims of about Dh1.6 billion (about N169 billion). Items worth Dh 150 million (N15.845 billion) were also seized in the raid.

Police also recovered 13 luxury cars worth about Dh 25 million (N2. 640 billion), 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 memory storage devices, 5 external hard drives and 800, 000 email addresses of potential victims from the gang.

The operation which led to their arrest was codenamed Fox Hunt 2 and took four months of painstaking investigations into their nefarious activities during which their social media activities were monitored and used to track their locations.

The fraudsters allegedly perpetrated their scams by hacking into and taking over corporate emails after which they initiate or hijack communications with clients of the companies and redirect financial transactions and bank details to their own accounts.

If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering Hushpuppi who has already made an initial court appearance would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in US federal prison.