Ray Hushpuppi has been described as the Nigerian darkhorse, and his life is a classic example of a rags to riches story that sounds like a fairy tale. His mysterious, yet lavish lifestyle made him an instant hit on social media. Now, the FBI says that his extravagant lifestyle was actually bankrolled by hacking schemes that stole millions of dollars from major companies in the US and Europe.
Ramon Abbas a.k.a Ray Hushpuppi a.k.a Gucci Master, a Nigerian national, who also goes by the monikers Aja 4 or Aja Puppi, is not your typical gun-brandishing bank robber. Nah! He works from home. A posh home. You can call him the don of modern online fraudsters.
How he managed to put together an intricate cybercrime network, spanning two continents, which stole a cool $41 million (Ksh. 4.1 billion) is stuff for legend. The amounts of money he is accused of stealing, from the comfort of his lavish home, can make any major bank heist look like child’s play.
Perhaps the mother of all his alleged online scams, which undeniably confirms that Ray played in the big league of online scamming, is the one in which he is accused of conspiring to steal $124 million (Ksh.12.4 billion) from an unnamed English premier League soccer club. It is yet to be confirmed whether the scam was successful or not.
In a mission to unearth a few truths about Ray Hushpuppi, today the BIG BIRD soars high and hovers over this Nigerian ninja, who is already on our BIRD’S EYE VIEW radar…
Who is Ray Hushpuppi?
Before he was arrested by the Dubai Police and handed over to FBI agents, Ray Hushpuppi was known as the affluent Nigerian celeb and philanthropist residing in Dubai. Ray shot into fame for flaunting his immense wealth through flashy Instagram posts. He also, occasionally, used the platform to motivate other “hustlers” to keep working hard in order to realize their dreams.
The man had a habit of openly flaunting an overly lavish lifestyle of private jets, luxury cars and expensive designer clothes. His 2.5 million Instagram followers came to know him as the man who could board helicopters from his posh Dubai waterfront apartment, besides walking around carrying Gucci, Fendi and Versace shopping bags.
He made no secret of his lavish lifestyle and immense wealth. On Snapchat, he went by the name the “Billionaire Gucci Master.” One of his posts three years back reads:
“Started out my day having sushi down at Nobu in Monte Carlo, Monaco, then decided to book a helicopter to have … facials at the Christian Dior spa in Paris then ended my day having champagne in Gucci,”
On his social media accounts, he regularly posts photos of himself displaying different models of costly luxury cars, including Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls Royce and Mercedes with the hashtag #AllMine. In other posts, he is seen in the company of international sports greats and celebrities.
Ray Hushpuppi Job and Career
How does Ray Hushpuppi make his money? This is a question that has always baffled many, since the man his very secretive about his real business deals. However, on his Instagram bio, Ray Hushpuppi claims that he is a Real Estate Developer.
Many of his followers started having doubts when his friend turned foe, Mompha, was arrested by officials from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. By the time of his arrest, ray had not confirmed any specific source of his immense riches.
Some time back, he posted a video on social media, in which he was seen tossing wads of cash, making them rain like confetti. He then also told his followers that he was a real estate mogul.
Ray Hushpuppi’s Flamboyant Online Blunder that Led the FBI to Him
As a matter of fact, new money – especially when acquired easily – is always too loud and restless; it knows not how to remain discreet. According to a federal affidavit filed against him, the Gucci Master’s flamboyant Instagram posts easily left a clear digital trail of evidence that aided the FBI sleuths to link the alleged cyber-crimes to him.
In the affidavit, federal officials give details of how his social media accounts provided them with crucial information that helped them to confirm his identity. For instance, his Instagram account (his favorite) had an email and phone number saved for account security purposes.
After getting these contact details, the federal agents were able to link the email and phone number to financial transactions and transfers, with people the FBI believed were his collaborators in crime. According to the affidavit, the email account contained emails with attachments relating to wire transfers of huge sums of dollars.
His Snapchat and Apple records also proved crucial in availing information that the detectives used to confirm his identity, address and communications made with other prime suspects. Fun enough, even photos of his birthday celebration, which he posted on Instagram, helped a great deal to confirm his real identity!
In one of his posts, he displays a birthday cake topped with a Fendi logo plus a miniature image of him surrounded by small shopping bags. What is more, the date of his birth matched one he had provided on a previous US visa application.
It turns out that Ray worked with several accomplices and was apprehended alongside 11 others. In a statement, Dubai Police said that other than seizing about $41 million and 13 luxury cars worth $6.8 million, detectives also got hold of crucial phone and computer evidence. According to Dubai authorities, the investigators unearthed email addresses of approximately 2 million possible victims on phones, computers and hard drives.
In a statement, US Attorney Nick Hanna had this to say:
“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,”
Last month, United Arab Emirates detectives staged a sting operation in Ray’s luxurious Dubai home and arrested him, before handing him over to FBI agents, who in turn flew him to Chicago on July 2.
He is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles, where the affidavit was signed, in order to face accusations of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars, through cybercrime schemes.
How much is Ray Hushpuppi worth
Before he was arrested, pundits had conservatively estimated Ray Hushpuppi net worth 2020 at $20 million. As much as he has never publicly claimed how much he is worth, the assumption was premised on all of his expensive possessions, including a private jet, all his luxury cars, and his jewellery and his overly opulent lifestyle as depicted on social media.
$41 million plus 13 luxury cars seized.
Federal prosecutors believe that Ray Hushpuppi has been leading a global network of online fraudsters, who used computer intrusions, money laundering and business email compromise schemes to defraud companies of millions of dollars. At the time of his arrest, detectives seized nearly $41 million and 13 luxury cars estimated to be worth $6,8 million.
Ray Hushpuppi Trail of unbelievable Cybercrimes
If what he is accused of is anything to go by, then Ray must be a master online fraudster. The companies targeted by his online theft spanned two continents. His alleged cybercrimes involved mind-boggling amounts of money.
Federal documents show details of how a paralegal at a New York law firm wired nearly $923, 000 meant for a client’s real estate refinancing to one of the bank accounts run by Ray Hushpuppi associates.
The paralegal got duped by fraudulent wire instructions after sending an email to a supposed bank email address, which would be later identified as a “spoofed” email address, the affidavit confirmed.
A criminal complaint also reveals Ray conspired, with an unnamed individual, to launder $14.7 million from a foreign financial institution last year.
During the alleged cybercrime, Ray Hushpuppi sent an accomplice the account information for a Romanian bank account, which he claimed could be used for “large amounts.”
The affidavit also said that, in other alleged schemes, Ray provided Dubai bank accounts that could be used to deposit money from victims in the US.
Perhaps the mother of all his alleged online scams, which confirms that Ray played in the big online scamming league, is the one in which he is accused of conspiring to steal $124 million from an unnamed English premier League soccer club. However, it is unclear whether the daring attempt sailed through or not.
Five days ago Forbes Magazine reported that “An English Premier League football club has become embroiled in a criminal complaint brought against self-proclaimed ‘Billionaire Gucci Master’ Ramon Abbas, a Nigerian influencer with over 2.5 million followers on Instagram. (Forbes does not currently include Abbas on our list of the World’s Billionaires.)”
How Ray Hushpuppi Stole From business e-mail schemes
Business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes are known to be highly sophisticated scams, whereby a hacker redirects business e-mail account communications in an attempt to intercept wire transfers.
According Hanna, a cyber security expert;
“The BEC schemes are one of the most complicated cybercrimes that we encounter, as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists spread around the globe, who are highly experienced in computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system.”
Paul Delacourt of the FBI field office in Los Angeles said that last year alone, the FBI were able to record $1.7 billion (Ksh. 170 billion) in losses by companies and individual victims of BEC scams.
Hushpuppi’s lawyer has since stated that the Instagram big boy is innocent of all the charges levelled against him. The lawyer claims Ramon Abbas “was running a legitimate business and a very legitimate Instagram account and did not take part in any scam or fraud.”
Vanguard, says; a search on the US Federal Bureau of Prisons Website, using the find inmate feature, reveals that the notorious suspect is held at MCC Chicago Prison. If convicted of money laundering, Ray Hushpuppi faces up to 20 years in the coolers.
Ray Hushpuppi bio
Real name: Ramon Abbas/Raymond Igbalodely
Date of birth: June 14th
Place of birth: Lagos State, Nigeria
Place of residence: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Nicknames: Aja 4, Gucci Master, Aja Puppi
Feds used Instagram posts of private jets and luxury cars to track $41M ‘cyber criminal’ Ray Hushpuppi – Citizentv.co.ke. (2020). Retrieved 12 July 2020, from https://citizentv.co.ke/lifestyle/nigerian-ray-hushpuppi-flaunted-private-jets-luxury-cars-on-instagram-feds-used-his-posts-to-link-him-to-alleged-cybercrimes-338527/?utm_source=onesignal&utm_medium=notifications&utm_campaign=onesignal_notifications
Kandie, L. (2020). Ray Hushpuppi was living lavishly in Dubai then arrested: Find out more. Retrieved 12 July 2020, from https://briefly.co.za/67477-ray-hushpuppi-bio-age-cars-jet-wealth-arrested-by-interpol-girlfriend-profile.html
Dawkins, D. (2020). ‘Billionaire Gucci Master’ Detained By FBI Over Alleged $124 Million Premier League Fraud. Retrieved 14 July 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddawkins/2020/07/09/billionaire-gucci-master-detained-by-fbi-over-alleged-124-million-premier-league-fraud/#1100a7973a34