Suspected Nigerian fraudster Ramon Abbas a.k.a Hushpuppi has been denied bail in the United States in spite of his lawyer, Gal Pissetzky insisting that his job as an Instagram celebrity paid for the $10,000 monthly rent on his luxury Dubai flat.
His lawyers had applied for him to leave jail with an electronic tag and live with the uncle of a woman with whom he has a child with, but US prosecutors opposed the bail application.
UAE’s The National reported that prosecutors said he could commit crimes with just a smartphone and an internet connection, and that he posed too much of a flight risk.
Reacting to prosecutors’ argument, Pissetzky said his client had too much to lose if he flees from the United States.
He told a judge in Chicago by video link:
“He is loved and respected. He is a celebrity. I don’t see the reason why he would want to ruin his credibility in the world and his status rather than stay here and face this allegation.
“Anywhere he goes, people will know. Having grown up very poor in Nigeria, Mr Abbas is now paid to pose with high-priced items such as Louis Vuitton bags that people would buy after seeing his posts on lnstagram.
“He is an influencer. That’s a job today, as much as it is hard to imagine. That’s a full-time job.”
Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, who watched the proceedings from a prison video link, denied Hushpuppi bail on the grounds of him being a flight risk.
Gilbert ordered that the suspected Nigerian fraudster be remanded in custody until he is taken to a court in California.
CANDIIDONLINE reports that Hushpuppi and his suspected co-conspirators were accused by the FBI of spearheading a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019.
Abbas 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 them.
He was also accused of conspiring to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world.
Abbas allegedly provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe, which he expected to receive €5 million (about $5.6 million) in each.
No fewer than 1,926,400 people from different parts of the world were also said to have fallen victims to the suspects, FBI reveals.
According to the police, 13 luxury cars, estimated at 35 million Dirham (N3.7 billion) were recovered from the house where they were arrested.
The Dubai police said the operation leading to the arrest of Hushpuppi was dubbed “Fox Hunt 2”.