Hushpuppi Commits $400,000 Internet Fraud Inside Prison – FBI
Internet fraudster Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas has been charged with fresh fraud accusations by United States prosecutors, accusing him of committing fraud and laundering over $400,000 while in prison, aso Naija reports
On Wednesday, US prosecutors presented documents before the U.S. District Court of California with fresh evidence indicating Mr Abbas committed fraud and money laundering at the U.S Federal correctional facility.
The documents said Mr Abass was involved in the purchase and laundering of Economic Impact Payment debit cards obtained from stolen data of U.S. citizens and residents.
According to prosecutors, inmates are allowed access to phone calls, video calls, the internet, exempt from being monitored to protect their rights to privacy. However, between January 28 and March 4, security officers at the correctional facility observed that Mr Abbas had gone beyond allowed internet use.
In light of the internet-based crimes Mr Abbas was tried for, a warrant to record his activities was obtained and his activities were recorded for a week.
It was found that Mr Hushpuppi Abbas had purchased 58 EIP debit cards from an underground cybercriminal marketplace StimulusCard, worth $429,800
The Economic Impact Payments are financial support offered by the U.S. government to U.S residents according to the CARES Act.
Mr Abass, whose sentencing was postponed to July, pleaded guilty to multimillion-dollar fraud charges as part of a plea bargain he entered with the U.S. authorities.
The 37-year-old had been arrested in Dubai in June 2020 and extradited to the U.S. where he has been facing charges of corruption in Central California.
The statement partly read, “RAMON OLORUNWA ABBAS is a Nigerian national previously living in the United Arab Emirates (the “U.A.E.”) but currently incarcerated in the US Federal correctional facility, Central District of California, on charges of money laundering. The FBI’s investigation has revealed that ABBAS, while in a US Federal correctional facility, participated in the purchase of Economic Impact Payment debit cards fraudulently obtained from compromised data of US citizens.
“Economic Impact Payments —commonly referred to as “stimulus checks” or “recovery rebates”— are a key provision of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act legislation that Congress passed to help reduce the financial burden on citizens and residents across the United States. Economic Impact Payments are non-taxable income that does not need to be paid back. Economic Impact Payments debit cards are a means of disbursement of payments. Economic Impact Payments debit cards, commonly called EIP cards, are issued on the VISA network by Meta Bank, South Dakota, US.
“This affidavit presents new information involving ABBAS which supports Affidavit 1 of Case No 2:20-mj-02992. Recorded internet activities (reviewed pursuant to a federal search warrant issued in this District) of ABBAS in the US Federal correctional facility, Central District of California, reflect that ABBAS purchased Economic Impact Payments debit cards and laundered the proceeds totaling over $400,000.
“Payments debit cards daily for the period we recorded him. He purchased a total of 58 Economic Impact Payments debit cards in this period, with a total value of $429,800.