The US government has granted the appeal of Nigerian internet fraudster facing trial in the United States of America, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi as his jail term reduced to 11 years.
Hushpuppi’s jail’s term reduction comes on the heels of his record which was revealed as part of his memorandum countering sentencing recommendations of prosecutors that showed he cleaned very well and related excellently with other inmates.
The FBI had also dropped some charges against popular Internet fraudster Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas, in line with a plea deal between him and the U.S. government.
This is contained in court documents presenting the U.S. government’s sentencing position for Mr Abbas before the United States District Court for the Central District Of California ahead of his September 21 sentencing.
“On February 12, 2021, the United States filed a sealed criminal complaint against Abbas and five co-defendants in the Juma case. Defendant agreed to plead guilty in the Abbas case approximately two months later, while the Juma Case was still sealed,” the 17-page document said.
He was claimed to be one of the best cleaners in the prison where he has been remanded since his arrest in 2021.
It was gathered that his report card for Central Valley workshop for prisoners showed that, between July 2021 when he enrolled and November 2021 when he completed work, Hushpuppi put up “very good” in attitude, quality of work, dependability and productivity.
Hushpuppi had appealed to US Judge Otis Wright for temper justice with mercy and a lighter jail term after scoring high in the cleaning activities.
The presiding Judge, Wright is scheduled to hear the sentencing arguments of the prosecution and defence of Hushpuppi on September 21 before delivering his judgment in the matter.
Prosecutors in the United States have asked a federal judge to sentence Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas to 11 years in prison and three years of supervised release.
In a memorandum submitted on the 5th of September, his lawyer, Louis Shapiro had stated, “He is currently working within his prison cleaning windows and showers—for which he has received great personal evaluations.”
It was gathered that the prosecution and defence have been deliberating over the appropriate sentencing for him.
The prosecution led by assistant U.S. attorney Khaldoun Shobaki demanded 11 years in prison and $2.2 million in restitution and fines. Shapiro said his client had become a changed person in prison and should be handed a lighter sentence of about two years in prison.
Shapiro further noted Hushpuppi has three minor children in London, U.S. and Dubai to care for, as well as his ailing parents in Nigeria.
How it all began
Hushpuppi was first arrested in Dubai in June 2020 and later transferred to the prison in the U.S. as his trial continued.
It further noted, “As discussed below, the charges in the Juma Case relate to a scheme to defraud an individual in Qatar who was seeking a loan of $15 million for a project to build an international school. As part of defendant’s plea agreement in the Abbas Case, the United States agreed to dismiss the complaint against defendant in the Juma case.”
The document revealed that in December 2019, Mr Abbas conspired with Kenyan national Abdulrahman Imraan Juma and others to defraud a Qatari company and its owner. Mr Juma had already been in contact with the victim when Mr Abbas was onboarded.
Mr Abbas started speaking with the victim, posing as a Wells Fargo Bank employee named “Malik.” Both men then opened a bank account at Wells Fargo Bank in Canoga Park, California, using the name of the Qatari victim’s company.
The document noted that between December 19 and 24, 2019, Messrs Abbas and Juma conned the victim into paying $330,000 to fund an “investor’s account” to facilitate a $15 million loan.
“Defendant used those funds for his personal benefit, including purchasing a $230,000 Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which defendant arranged to have brought to him from New York to Dubai. The watch was delivered to defendant on approximately January 4, 2020,” the document said.
It added, “Soon thereafter, the Richard Mille watch began to appear on defendant’s Instagram feed, where he would specifically call it out with the hashtag #RichardMille, including, for example, in the following posts on January 13, March 17, and May 31, 2020.”
Disgraced police officer Abba Kyari had been indicted in the Juma case by the government’s investigation, named among five of Mr Abbas’ co-conspirators in a $1.1million fraud charge.
Mr Abass told the United States District Court that he was at risk of being harmed by Mr Kyari.
U.S. prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Mr Abbas to 11 years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a multinational conspiracy that earned him millions of dollars between 2019 and 2020.
It was recommended that Mr Abbas pay $1.7 million in restitution, $500,000 in fines, and $100 in administrative fees ahead of his sentencing on September 21.
In July 2021, Mr Abbas pleaded guilty to multimillion-dollar fraud charges as part of a plea bargain he entered with the U.S. authorities, court documents seen by Peoples Gazette said.
Mr Abbas admitted to laundering money and orchestrating fraudulent attacks on a Premier League club, an American law firm, a UK law firm and other schemes, including recruiting North Korean state-sponsored hackers to collaborate with his fraudulent projects.