Hushpuppi: A conman comes face to face with nemesis

Hushpuppi: A conman comes face to face with nemesis

By Alao Abiodun

At the mention of the popular fraudster, Hushpuppi, whose real name is Ramon Abbas, the internet experiences a wild stir and a jarring recall of how the 39-year-old’s opulent lifestyle ended abruptly, and also soiled the country’s reputation.

Just recently, the United States government’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declared a Nigerian, Chidozie Obasi, wanted for allegedly defrauding the New York State government of more than $30 million. It shows that there are still many more Hushpuppies lurking around the corner, and also an army of internet fraudsters who are yet to learn from the whole saga.

Hushpuppi, who is still at the centre stage, was arrested in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in June 2020, and subsequently flown to the U.S. The man in the eye of the storm has since pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2021 and was ordered to remain in custody pending sentencing.

Judge Otis Wright had fixed September 21 as the new sentencing date after the court moved it at least three times. Hushpuppi was initially scheduled for sentencing on February 14 but it was moved to July 11 before it was postponed for September 21 this year.

It is almost wishful thinking that Hushpuppi is trying to negotiate his freedom after he recently contracted a top Washington, D.C. criminal defence attorney, John Iweanoge, to make a case for him. He hopes to reduce his impending jail sentence from 11 years.

In another development, Hushpuppi’s lawyer, Louis Shapiro, said he would be unable to prepare for his sentencing without all the documents relating to the Juma case.

Hushpuppi reportedly engaged in a scheme to defraud a Qatari business and its owner in December 2019 with Kenyan national, Abdulrahman Imraan Juma and others. Both guys obtained bank accounts at the Wells Fargo Bank in Canoga Park, California, after Hushpuppi pretended to be a representative of the institution.


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