A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in the United States, Andrew John Innocenti, on Thursday, March 17, alleged that Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, received fresh charges.
This was as the United States prosecutors submitted court documents. The documents showed that he committed fraud and laundered over $400,000 while in jail.
According to documents submitted before the United States District Court of California, HushPuppi committed fraud; he also committed money laundering. This was while in a US federal correctional facility.
The court documents revealed that Hushpuppi participated in the purchase and laundering of Economic Impact Payment debit cards. The cards were fraudulently obtained from stolen data of US citizens as well as residents.
Economic Impact Payments are financial support offered by the US government to residents according to the CARES Act. One of the ways eligible US residents receive their Economic Impact Payments is by debit cards.
From the documents presented in court, it was found that hackers use data of US residents to file and obtain Economic Impact Payments debit cards. They sell off these EIP cards in underground marketplaces to other cybercriminals.
The document read in part, “Ramon Olorunwa Abbas aka Hushpuppi is a Nigerian national previously living in the United Arab Emirates (the ‘U.A.E.’). He is currently incarcerated in the US Federal correctional facility, Central District of California, on charges of money laundering.
“The FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas, while in a US Federal correctional facility, participated in the purchase of Economic Impact Payment debit cards. These cards were fraudulently obtained from compromised data of US citizens.
“Economic Impact Payments are a key provision of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act legislation. The US Congress passed to help reduce the financial burden on citizens and residents across the United States. They are non-taxable income that does not need to be paid back.
“Economic Impact Payments debit cards are a means of disbursement of payments. Economic Impact Payments debit cards, commonly called EIP cards, are issued on the VISA network by Meta Bank, South Dakota, US.
“Recorded internet activities (reviewed pursuant to a federal search warrant issued in this District) of Abbas in the US Federal correctional facility, Central District of California. The records reflected that Abbas purchased Economic Impact Payments debit cards and laundered the proceeds totalling over $400,000.
“Payments debit cards daily for the period we recorded him. He purchased a total of 58 Economic Impact Payments debit cards in this period, with a total value of $429,800.
“19 Of the 58 Economic Impact Payments debit cards, Hushpuppi chose the virtual card option for 36 EIP cards. He also selected the plastic physical card option for 22 EIP cards.”