Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering, Could Spend 20 Years In Jail

July 29, 2021
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Nigerian suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas aka Ray Hushpuppi, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to engage in money laundering in the multi-million-dollar fraud charges filed against him by the United States Government.

Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering, Could Spend 20 Years In Jail

KanyiDaily had reported how Hushpuppi was arrested in the United Arab Emirate, Dubai on June 10, 2020, alongside 11 of his associates over allegations bordering on hacking, impersonation, scamming, banking fraud, and identity theft.

The fraudster was subsequently extradited to the US after the UAE police detailed his arrest in a special operation dubbed ‘Fox Hunt 2’ where he was accused of defrauding over 1.9 million victims to the tune of $435.6 million (N168 billion).

On July 4, 2020, Hushpuppi was charged with the conspiracy to commit money laundering before a US court, an offense that attracts a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment if convicted.

Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering

In a plea agreement document obtained on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, Hushpuppi agreed to plead guilty to Count Two which is “Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering,” amongst other charges brought against him by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (USAO).

The plea agreement was signed by Hushpuppi’s lawyer, Louis Shapiro, and the Assistant United States Attorney, Anil Antony, on July 4, and filed at a U.S. Central District Court of California on Tuesday.

It was gathered that a date will be fixed for the defendant to change his previous “not guilty” plea to “guilty” and will be followed by a sentencing hearing for the judge to determine how long he will spend in jail.

The document partly read, “Defendant (Hushpuppi) admits that defendant is, in fact, guilty of the offence to which defendant is agreeing to plead guilty.

“The Defendant agrees to appear and plead guilty to Count Two of Information in United States v. Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, Case No. 2:20-CR-00322-ODW, that charged the defendant with Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h).”

Hushpuppi’s Obligations After Guilty Plea

One of the terms of the agreement after pleading guilty to “Count Two of the Information” includes the defendant’s concession to “not contest facts agreed to in this agreement,” the document states.

Hushpuppi has also agreed to “abide by all agreements regarding sentencing contained in this agreement.”

He concedes that “all court appearances, including his change of plea hearing and sentencing hearing, may proceed by video-teleconference (VTC) or telephone, if VTC is not reasonably available, so long as such appearances are authorized by Order of the Chief Judge 20-043 or another order, rule, or statute”.

The court will conduct a sentencing hearing after Hushpuppi changes his plea from guilty to not guilty.

He has consented “under Section 15002(b) of the CARES Act to proceed with his sentencing hearing by VTC or telephone, if VTC is not reasonably available.”

He will also “Appear for all court appearances, surrender as ordered for service of sentence, obey all conditions of any bond, and obey any other ongoing court order in this matter.”

Also listed as part of the terms of the agreement is Hushpuppi’s concession not to commit crime again.

He has also conceded to “Be truthful at all times with the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office and the Court. “

The agreement also stipulates that with the exception of an appeal based on a claim that his guilty plea was involuntary, he will be “waiving and giving up any right to appeal” against his conviction on the offense to which the defendant is pleading guilty.

Sentence Imposed On Hushpuppi For His Crimes

The exact sentence to be imposed on Mr Abass was not agreed on, but provided that he “demonstrates an acceptance of responsibility for the offence up to and including the time of sentencing,” the prosecution said it recommends “a two-level reduction in the applicable Sentencing Guidelines offence level”.

“If necessary,” the prosecution adds, it may “move for an additional one-level reduction if available under that section.”

Not being an American citizen, he will be deported after completing his jail term and paying up the amount to be restituted.

The maximum penalty for the offence which Hushpuppi hopes will be reduced at his sentencing include: “20 years’ imprisonment; a 3-year period of supervised release; a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greatest; and a mandatory special assessment of $100.”

Despite pleading guilty, Hushpuppi will not be exempted from paying close to $1.7m as restitution, but this can change based on facts that come up before sentencing.

“Defendant understands that defendant will be required to pay full restitution to the victim(s) of the offence to which defendant is pleading guilty.

“Defendant agrees that, in return for the USAO’s compliance with its obligations under this agreement, the court may order restitution to persons other than the victim(s) of the offenses to which defendant is pleading guilty and in amounts greater than those alleged in the count to which defendant is pleading guilty,” the plea agreement also read.

It also noted that the parties (US Attorney Offices and Hushpuppi) agreed that “the agreement will be considered part of the record of the defendant’s guilt plea hearing as if the entire agreement had been read into the record of the proceeding”.

Hushpuppi was arraigned and detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago ahead of his plea hearing which was not included in the document.

KanyiDaily recalls that Hushpuppi made his initial U.S. court appearance in Chicago on July 3, 2020 and was subsequently transferred to Los Angeles for trial.

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