Following his extradition from UAE on Thursday, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas who arrived Chicago that evening made his initial US Court appearance on Friday July 3. He is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
Abbas who was living in UAE and known for flaunting baronial lifestyle on social media before his arrest last month is to face criminal charges alleging he conspired to launder Hundreds of Millions of Dollars from Business Email Compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams.
According to the Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Paul Delacourt,
“In 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7 billion in losses by companies and individuals victimized through business email compromise scams the type of scheme Mr. Abbas is charged with conducting from abroad.”
The affidavit filed along with the criminal complaints against Huspuppi by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on June 25, states that BEC schemes often involve a hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer.
Some of the allegations against Hushpuppi according to the Affidavit include:
That Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019 by tricking 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 Abbas and the co-conspirators.
That Abbas conspired 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 while Abbas and his co-conspirator anticipated to receive about $5.6 Million Dollars each.
That Abbas conspired from other fraudulent schmes and computer intrusion to steal £ 100 million (approx. $ 124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club.
“If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering in the being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anil J Antony and Joseph B. Woodring of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.” A report by the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office, Central District of California said.