Hushpuppi: Scamfluencer Extraordinaire and Uncrowned King of the Yahoo Boys
Known by his millions of followers as the Billionaire Gucci Master, Ramon Abbas started his rags to riches fraudster career in Nigeria, evolving from phishing emails to defrauding international banks and corporations of $350 M.• Aug. 24, 2022
There are influencers, there are scammers, there are scamfluencers and then there is the godfluencer: Hushpuppi. We're discussing the rise of Ramon from the internet cafes of Lagos, Nigeria to the penthouse suites of the Palazzo Versace in Dubai... and predictably eventually to a US prison. If you like our content, please become a patron to get our two premium episodes every month, as well as our public episodes ad-free.
Hushpuppi and his co-conspirators in various email phishing scams: Samson Oyekunle, Vincent Chibuzo, and Abdul-Rahman Juma, Ghaleb Alaumary, and Nigeria's "super cop" Abba Kyari, perpetrated email frauds throughout the world, from middle-man banks in Mexico to compromised accounts in an investment bank in Malta, and even to the French equivalent of the US Securities Exchange Commission, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, and English Premiere League football clubs. 1, 2, 3
Team Hush wasn't one of those small time Nigerian Prince email scam crews. They were talented social engineers capable of talking their "magas", Nigerian slang for "gullible marks" out of hundreds of thousands of dollars per transaction. Rather than rely on cold-emailing millions of people they would insert themselves into corporate and government email networks, and then observe their day to day transactions to custom-design scams that would fly under an accounting auditor's radar.
WIth the ill-gotten money Hushpuppi lived large: a penthouse in Dubai, helicopter rides around the Greek Isles, private jet rides to his destinations, and multi-hundred thousand dollar watches and cars. He was even a guest of the Louis Vuitton PR department at Fashion Week in Paris, and "customer of the year" in the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Versace store. 4
When he was finally arrested by Dubai police (who also documented their swat raid on Hushpuppi's penthouse for social media in a highly over-produced video), dozens of phones and laptos were seized along with 7 million dollars in cars and 40 million dollars in cash. 5
And old habits die hard, most recently a new charge has been added to Hushpuppi's rap sheet in the US. The FBI has charged him with obtaining $430,000 dollars in fraudulent COVID relief loans granted to victims of identity theft, after which Hushpuppi would sell the debit cards containing the loan funds that were sent out by the US Government.
Episode #DubiMeter = 11
2. Evan Ratliff and William Clowes. How Instagram’s ‘Billionaire Gucci Master’ Sank Nigeria’s Super Cop. Bloomberg. February 2022. ⇤
4. Segun Adewole. How Hushpuppi bought Richard Mille wristwatch worn on Instagram. Punch. July 2021. ⇤
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