Showing posts with label fbi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fbi. Show all posts

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Hushpuppi not released yet, says US lawyer



Gal Pissetzky, the legal representative of suspected Internet fraudster, Ramon Abass, aka Hushpuppi, has said the suspect is on his way to California, United States of America, for trial.

He told Newsmen on Wednesday night that Hushpuppi had not been released as being speculated in some quarters.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Grand jury indicts Woodberry of fraud, faces 20 years in prison



Olalekan Ponle, a Nigerian held in the United States for alleged multi-million-dollar fraud, has been indicted by the grand jury, a group of lawyers empowered to conduct legal proceedings and investigate potential criminal conduct.

Mr Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, alongside Ramoni Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, was arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubai crime unit. According to the complaint, an unnamed Chicago company was defrauded into sending wire transfers totalling $15.2 million.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

The case is just getting better - Hushpuppi's lawyer, Gal Pissetzky reacts



The case is just getting better - Hushpuppi's lawyer, Gal Pissetzky reacts to report that he dumped the alleged fraudster

Gal Pissetzky, a top Chicago lawyer who is representing suspected Internet fraudster, Ramon Abass, aka Hushpuppi, has said that his case is getting better though he was denied bail and transferred to California.

Hushpuppi Dumps Top Chicago Lawyer As Court Transfers His Trial To California



Hushpuppi, a Nigerian Instagram personality, who is facing cyberfraud allegations in the United States, has disengaged Gal Pissetzky, his lawyer in Chicago, after his trial was transferred to California.

The self-acclaimed influencer, whose real name is Ramon Igbalode, had been arraigned in Chicago on money laundering charges following his arrest in Dubai and subsequent extradition to the US.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Woodberry hires veteran Chicago lawyer, Michael Nash who has over 55 years experience at the bar.



Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, who was arrested alongside Hushpuppi, has hired the services of a top rated Chicago lawyer, Michael Nash, to defend him in court, Premium Times reports

Woodberry, 29, who is currently being held in the United States, was arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubai crime unit.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

FBI kidnapped my client from Dubai – Hushpuppi’s Lawyer



Gal Pissetzky, lawyer to Nigerian suspected international fraudster, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, popularly known as Ray Hushpuppi, has said that his client was kidnapped by the FBI from Dubai and taken to the US.

Hushpuppi and another cyber-heist suspect, Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Mr Woodberry were arrested in Dubai, where they lived, in June.

They were later taken to the US where they appeared in a Chicago court on 3 July. The US and UAE have no existing extradition treaty but Dubai police said the two suspected fraudsters were extradited to the US.

The BBC quoted a spokesman for the US Department of Justice as saying that Hushpuppi was expelled from Dubai and was not extradited.

Speaking with the BBC, Hushpuppi’s lawyer Pissetzky, said, “In my opinion, the FBI and the government here acted illegally when they kidnapped him from Dubai without any legal process to do so. “There was no extradition, there were no legal steps taken, there were no court documents filed, it was simply a call to the FBI. He is not a citizen of the United States, the US had absolutely no authority to take him.”

Gal Pissetzky had earlier told Forbes that Hushpuppi, is not a fraudster.

Pissetzky said that the internet celebrity is a legitimate businessman who deals on real estate, according to Forbes.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

How we tracked ‘Woodberry’ via iPhone, WhatsApp, Bitcoin transactions – FBI




Olalekan Jacob Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, was nabbed through details accessed from his WhatsApp, iPhone and Bitcoin transactions, court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES reveal.

Mr Ponle, alongside Ramoni Igbalode, also known as Hushpuppi, was arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubai crime unit.

The duo were then extradited to the United States on July 2.

Mr Ponle, 29, is currently facing charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy at a United States District Court sitting in Illinois.

The court had since June 25 issued an arrest warrant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding Mr Ponle’s case after a criminal complaint was filed.

His first appearance in court was on July 3, after which the preliminary hearing was set for July 16 before Judge Jeffrey T Gilbert.

However, as provided by a section of the U.S. laws on the release or detention of a defendant pending trial, Mr Ponle will be remanded in custody until a further order of the court.

If found guilty, he is liable to a jail term ranging from 20 to 30 years.

Page Pate, a U.S. law firm, stated on its website that penalties for wire fraud include a prison sentence of up to 20 years (30 years if the case involves federal disaster relief funds or a financial institution), restitution to any victims and a fine set by the judge.

How he was tracked

Ali Sadiq, a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), chronicled how the bureau tracked down through his online activities.

He said this in a criminal complaint document filed at the court and obtained by PREMIUM TIMES.

He stated that Mr Ponle, who often adopted a pseudonym Mark Kain, has defrauded several United States-based companies through Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes.

This scheme compromises legitimate business email accounts through computer intrusion techniques or social engineering and uses those accounts to cause the unauthorised transfer of funds.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Bukola Saraki distances himself from Hushpuppi



Bukola Saraki distances himself from Hushpuppi following APC's call for an investigation into his alleged link with the suspected fraudster

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has distanced himself from Hushpuppi after the ruling All Progressives Congress APC called for an investigation into his alleged links with the suspected fraudster who was recently arrested in the United Arab Emirates and extradited to the United States.

APC in a statement released by its National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena today July 4, called on the relevant security agencies to investigate the links Hushpuppi had with some PDP stalwarts.

The party said the investigation is necessary considering the fact that many of PDP chieftains had several meetings in Dubai ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The statement read in part;

''That the PDP leadership turned Dubai into their “Strategic” meeting place ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and “Hushpuppi’s” affinity with the PDP leadership is not mere coincidence.

At different times, “Hushpuppi” was been photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Dino Melaye among other PDP stalwarts.

While relevant authorities investigate the nature of their relationship and business partnership, we also challenge the PDP leadership to do same by opening up on the nature of the relationship, particularly the kind of services the arrested “Hushpuppi” provided them.'' APC's statement read

In a swift reaction, Saraki in a statement released by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described as irresponsible and cheap politics the statement from APC in which it tried to link him with Hushpuppi.

Saraki in the statement said he has no form of association with the said suspect, Ramon Abbas otherwise known as Hushpuppi and neither does he know him in any way.

“The statement credited to the APC, the ruling party in our country, is one of the ways by which our anti-graft agencies are weakened and why the fight against corruption in the country is often viewed with 

suspicion by the international community. This is because when these cyber-crime suspects were operating freely and openly displaying wealth, the APC saw nothing bad in their activities. Also, the party at that time did not deem it necessary to call on the anti-graft agencies to investigate their activities.

Also, since the arrest of those cyber crime suspects and the subsequent damage to the image and the economy of Nigeria as well as the crisis it created for Nigerians engaged in lawful businesses across the world, the ruling party had been muted. The only time the APC deemed it necessary to make a statement was when it thought it should play dirty, cheap and irresponsible politics.

Dr. Saraki was the only political leader who has publicly made a statement through an Op-Ed article published in the Daily Trust newspaper of July 1, 2020 titled “Cyber Criminals: Confronting The Few Who Dent Many” and this opinion article had been widely circulated online and on other platforms. In that article, he strongly condemned the activities of these cyber criminals and called on the law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to make decisive interventions to checkmate their activities. He has also got a research institution, the Politeia Institute, whose board he chairs to commence a research on the best ways to tackle the menace.

Such a noble intervention in tackling a menace is what Dr. Saraki believes in, not mudslinging and playing politics at the expense of the nation’s image. At this point, we call on the APC leadership to rein in the so-called Yekini Nabena and compel him to desist from making and circulating such malicious, odious and offensive claims”, the statement concluded.

Friday, 3 July 2020

US Federal prosecutors officially charge Hushpuppi for fraud. Faces 20 years in US prison



Ramon Olorunwa Abbas a.k.a. “Ray Hushpuppi” now faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in a US federal prison after being extradited from Dubai to the United States.
In a statement released by the US Department of Justice, the suspected Nigerian fraudster was accused of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.
Hushpuppi made his initial U.S. court appearance this morning in Chicago, and he is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in coming weeks.
Federal prosecutors who filed a criminal complaint filed on June 25, alleged that the suspected Nigerian fraudster is "one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars".

It was also alleged that Hushpuppi finances his opulent lifestyle of designer clothes, wearing expensive watches, posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets through crime.

The statement partly read;

"BEC schemes as often involving a computer 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.

“BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cybercrimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “This case targets a key player in a large, transnational conspiracy who was living an opulent lifestyle in another country while allegedly providing safe havens for stolen money around the world. As this case demonstrates, my office will continue to hold such criminals accountable, no matter where they live.

“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.

"Technology has essentially erased geographic boundaries leaving trans-national criminal syndicates to believe that they are beyond the reach of law enforcement. The success in this case was the direct result of our trusted partnerships between the Department of Justice and our federal law enforcement colleagues. These partnerships helped dismantle a sophisticated organized crime group who preyed upon unsuspecting businesses. It is thanks to these partnerships that the American people can feel a bit more secure today.”
Hushpuppi and his suspected co-conspirators were accused 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.
The suspected Nigerian fraudster also allegedly conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anil J. Antony and Joseph B. Woodring of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Hushpuppi and Mr. Woodberry extradited to the United States



Suspected Nigerian fraudsters, Ramon Igbalode Abbas a.k.a Hushpuppi and Olalekan Jacon Ponle a.k.a Mr Woodberry have been extradited to the United States.

This was confirmed in a post shared on the official page of the Dubai Police. FBI’s Director, Christopher Wray thanked the Dubai Police for their cooperation in extraditing the Nigerian suspects who were accused of committing multiple money-laundering and cyber crimes. The Instagram post read;

The Director of the Federatal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray has praised the exceptional efforts exerted by the United Arab Emirate, represented bu the Dubai Police General HQ, in combating transnational organised cybercrime including the recent arrest of Raymod Igbalode Abbas, known as “Hushpuppi” and Olalekan Jacon Ponle aka “Woodberry” who were taken down in operation “Fox Hunt 2”.

Mr Wray also extended his appreciations to Dubai Police for their cooperation in extraditing the wanted criminals, who committed money-laundering and multiple-cybercrimes, to the United States.

Hushpuppi : Group Wants FBI, Interpol To Question Top Politicians Over Links To Alleged Fraudste



The National Coalition of Democrats (NCD) has called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and International Police to investigate top politicians and other stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over possible links to arrested suspected fraudster, Raymond Igbalode, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

Renowned for his flamboyant lifestyle, Hushpuppi and 12 others were nabbed in Dubai by Interpol on June 10 over multiple cybercrimes and money laundering to the tune of 150 million dirhams (N168 billion).

In a statement signed by its Spokesman, Garuba Nuhu, on Wednesday, the National Coalition of Democrats reasoned that there could be more to this act, especially with Hushpuppi’s known relationship with some PDP members, as seen in pictures and videos on social media.

According to the group, Hushpuppi might have actually worked discreetly with the opposition party in buildup to the 2019 general elections.

The group, therefore, called on the FBI and Interpol to investigate politicians who may have been first-line beneficiaries of the fraud committed by Hushpuppi.

It added that Hushpuppi could have likely “assisted these individuals to launder funds through his network because the level of fraternity between Hushpuppi and these individuals points to that direction”

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Don’t judge Nigerians excelling abroad – Abike Dabiri-Erewa reacts to Hushpuppi’s arrest



Chairman of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa said not all Nigerians succeeding abroad are engaged in fraudulent activities.
She made this known while reacting to a fraudulent claim labelled against Ramoni Igbalode aka Hushpuppi by the United State’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Reacting to the flambouyant big boy’s arrest, she tweeted; Allegations against Ramoni Igbalode a k a Hushpuppi running into millions in fraud.I stress again ,not a yardstick to judge NiGERIANS excelling abroad . One bad apple should indeed not spoil the whole bunch.

In another post she wrote; “While many Nigs abroad are working 3..4 jobs to make ends meet fraudstars like Ramoni Igbalode are spoiling their image .The law must take its full course”.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Obinwanne "Invictus Obi" Okeke pleads guilty to N4.2 billion fraud; to be sentenced in October



Obinwanne Okeke, the owner of Invictus Group, who was arrested in the United States last year for computer-based fraud, has pleaded guilty to $11 million (N4.2 billion) fraud. The 32-year-old Nigerian businessman admitted to American prosecutors that he was involved in computer-based fraud between 2015 and 2019.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesperson for the United States District Court for Eastern District of Virginia, told Premium Times on Thursday evening that Mr Okeke could spend 20 years maximum penalty in an American jail.
He would be sentenced on October 22, Mr Stueve said. "A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors,” the court official said.

The publication adds that Robert Krask, an American judge of the district, certified the guilty plea on Thursday morning to clear the paths for Mr Okeke’s sentencing.

Mr Okeke and other alleged conspirators said to still be at large were accused of targeting American businesses in a probe led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Unatrac, a subsidiary of heavy equipment giant Caterpillar, was amongst the companies said to have been targeted by the cartel in a business email compromise scheme for several years. Over $11 million was said to have been traced to the ring, amidst claims that Mr Okeke allegedly used proceeds of his illicit dealings to build a business empire in Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Hushpuppi is Nigeria’s most-wanted hacker — EFCC



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has issued a statement on the arrest of alleged fraudster and socialite, Ray Hushpuppy.

The anti-graft commission disclosed that Hushpuppy has a case to answer over his involvement in a multi-million dollar fraud.
Below is the statement signed by the agency’s media chief, Dele Oyewale; “Nigerian most-wanted hacker, Ramoni Igbalode, alias Ray hushpuppy, recently arrested by the International Police( Interpol) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation( FBI), has considerable cases of cybercrimes being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC).” “The Commission is familiar with grisly details of his money laundering transactions, involving many high-profile cybercriminals facing trial in Nigeria.” “The Commission is engaging with the FBI in tracing victims of his fraudulent transactions and other fraudsters having direct involvement with him. Local cybercriminals with money laundering networks with him are also being investigated.” “Hushpuppi was arrested on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in United Arab Emirates in connection with $35million ventilator scam.”Meanwhile, an Instagram celebrity and Executive Director, Cubana Group, Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest has been detained by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit.

He was invited to the Force headquarters annex, Lagos to come and answer questions bothering on his alleged misuse of police escorts and weapons. However, as at the time of writing this report, he was still being detained.
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