Nigerian serial fraudster, Ramon Abass, popularly known as Hushpuppi, has agreed to plead guilty to the money laundering charge against him.
Hushpuppi, who is known for his luxury lifestyle, was arrested in the UAE in June 2020 alongside 11 of his associates over allegations bordering on hacking, impersonation, scamming, banking fraud, and identity theft.
The fraudster's extradition to the US was effected after the UAE police detailed his arrest in a special operation dubbed ‘Fox Hunt 2’ where he was accused of defrauding 1.9 million victims to the tune of N168 billion.
Hushpuppi was arraigned and detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago ahead of his trial.
In the court file signed by Loius Shapiro, Hushpuppi’s lawyer, on behalf of the defendant agreed to give up the right to indictment by a grand jury and plead guilty to count two of the trial “Case No. 2:20-CR-00322-ODW.”
The referenced court case, it is understood, charges Hushpuppi with “conspiracy to engage in money laundering.”
“For a person to be deemed guilty of the crime, there was an agreement between two or more persons to conduct a financial transaction involving property that represented the proceeds of wire fraud," the document reads.
It also added that the defendant must have known that the funds were “proceeds of some form of unlawful activity” and the transaction was designed “to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds.”
Journalist Evan Ratiff who shared copies of the agreement revealed that Hushpuppi now faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing.
The agreement he entered is limited to United States Attorney's Office and not binding to other federal, state, local or foreign prosecuting authorities.
He will henceforth not contest facts entered in the agreement and abide by all agreements regarding sentencing.
Hushpuppi is also expected to be truthful at all times with the United States probation and pretrial services office and the court.
The Instagram celebrity will pay close to $1.7m as restitution, but this can change based on facts that come up before sentencing.
“The defendant understands that the statutory maximum sentence that the court can impose for a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), as charged in the Information, is: 20 years imprisonment,” the file read.
“…a 3-year period of supervised release; a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the
offense, whichever is greatest; and a mandatory special assessment of $100.
“Defendant understands that defendant will be required to pay full restitution to the victim(s) of the offense to which defendant is pleading guilty.
“Defendant agrees that the court may order restitution to persons other than the victim(s) of the offenses to which defendant is pleading guilty and in amounts greater than those alleged in the count.”