Dubai Police have seized $40.9m in cash and more than a dozen luxury cars in the arrest of Hushpuppi, Nigerian Instagram celebrity accused of online fraud and money laundering.
In a video shared by the police, officers explained how they arrested Nigerian gang leader Raymond Abbas, better known as Hushpuppi.
Hushpuppi’s principal scam was to create websites that looked identical to well-known companies and banks, it is alleged.
He and his accomplices then used emails and messages to prompt people to log in or make payments on the fake sites.
The gang hacked corporate emails and directed huge payments by companies towards accounts they controlled.
Olalekan Jacob Ponle, known as Woodberry, was also arrested along with ten other men in an operation involving six police SWAT teams.
Along with 13 luxury cars, valued at an estimated $6.8m, police confiscated 21 computers and 47 smartphones.
The gang had 119,580 “fraud files” as well as addresses of more than 1.92 million victims.
Hushpuppi posed as a real estate investor and businessman, with more than two million followers on Instagram.
His account shows a lavish display of wealth, landing at Atlantis, The Palm in a helicopter and flying across the globe by private yet.
At a wedding in Dubai attended by Nigerian celebrities that made headlines in his home country, he was seen in a video dancing around the room throwing $100 notes into the air.
Abbas posed as a successful businessman “celebrating his wealth via social media platforms, in an attempt to lure victims from all over the world,” Dubai Police CID chief Brig Jamal Al Jalaf said.
Watch the video:
A senior prosecutor told The National: “They would send out letters from email addresses almost identical to those of legitimate companies, targeting customers of these companies, with the purpose of diverting payments to themselves.
“Initial information includes that he was part of this gang which fraudulently obtained cash and cars from people.
“His statement was taken by prosecution but this is just the beginning of prosecution investigations.”
Abbas was wanted for fraud in Europe, the US and Nigeria.
Abbas was extradited to the US state of Pennsylvania this week.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK