Convicted fraudster Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpupi, was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison on Monday in a U.S. District Court hearing in the Central District of California after he was convicted of a money laundering school financing scam , commercial email breaches, and other fraudulent online schemes.

The Instagram celebrity was also ordered by a federal judge to pay $1.7 million in damages to two victims of the fraud, the Justice Department said in a statement Tuesday.

The judgment, handed down by Justice Otis Wright II, ended Hushpuppi’s trial, which began in June 2020 after his arrest at his hotel apartment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Assistant Director Don Alway, who oversees the FBI’s Los Angeles office, described Hushpuppi in a statement as “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world.”

Hushpuppi was extradited to the United States on July 3.

He was arrested for defrauding more than 1.9 million people, most of them Americans.

He also pleaded guilty to the charges against him.

Online news platform Premium Times reported that Hushpuppi’s wife, Regina Manneh, and two imams, from Lagos and Borno states, respectively, wrote letters to the U.S. District Court for clemency.

According to the platform, a letter from Rasaq Olopede, Imam of the Imisi-Oluwa Mosque in Lagos, described Hushpuppi as a “frequent donor” to the mosque.

In another letter, Hudu Abdulrasak of Madrasatul Ahlul-Bait Islamiya, Maiduguri, Borno State also paid tribute to Hushpuppi’s charitable gesture towards orphans and widows.

The letters were filed in U.S. District Court on Nov. 4 in support of the inmate’s earlier request for a lighter sentence.

Our reporter learned that Hushpuppi is still being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, from where he will be transferred to a federal prison.

Tom Mrozek, director of media relations at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Tuesday in response to our reporter’s email: “He may not have been transferred to prison. He will be serving his sentence in a federal prison somewhere in the United States. The specific facility will be managed by a U.S. prison. The Bureau has determined that it manages these facilities and has exclusive authority to determine where prisoners will be housed.”

Human rights lawyer Abdul Mahmoud said Abbas should be sentenced to life in prison.

“The conviction of Abbas shows how other countries view the issue of cybercrime as a matter of national security, thus questioning their economic interests,” he said.

“I hope he gets a life sentence. We don’t usually consider the impact of cybercrime on victims – those who have lost the economic value of their lives.”

However, another lawyer, Festus Ogun, said the sentence was proportionate to the crime, adding that the country’s legal system could learn from it.



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