The Nigerian conman Ramon Olornuwa Abbas or 'Hushpuppi' was arrested last month by the FBI in Dubai. Abbas has been accused of multi-million dollar fraud in the United States. The Dubai Police Force had extradited him and an associate out of the UAE.
The alleged conman who on Instagram called himself a 'real estate developer' appeared on 3rd July before a Chicago court. But, how did the man get caught in the first place, suspicions are rife online?
Hushpuppi: The Instagrammer behind a cyberscam
Cybercrime has become a huge concern for the world. Hushpuppi is the alias that Ramon Olornuwa Abbas goes by on Instagram and Snapchat. With over 2.5 million followers on Instagram, he was media celebrity.
Often known to show off his larger than life persona and his big lifestyle, he had carefully curated an Instagram feed that only some could ever aspire to have. The 37-year-old Nigerian national was accused of running a hacking scam cheating US companies of millions of dollars.
Hushpuppi's Instagram feed sees him with his luxury cars, his luxury travel and branded lifestyle. This includes exotic travel, his lavish closet and a richness.
When he was caught the reported 'billionaire' was residing at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai. The Dubai Police had seized nearly $41 million when they arrested him including —13 luxury cars. Not just that they uncovered all the data stolen of users and victims, said the Dubai Police as reported by CNN.
He was not alone on the scam said the police and there were others involved. Upon extradition to the US, the Nigerian appeared before a Chicago court following which he was transferred to Los Angeles, California. Gal Pizzetsky Abbas' lawyer told BBC, "In my opinion, the FBI and the government here acted illegally when they kidnapped him from Dubai without any legal process to do so."
Instagram and Snapchat led to his arrest
When we put most of our lives on social media, sometimes we're allowing people not only to know who we are but where we are and what we're doing. It's more than connecting yourself to your close ones, it becomes an identifier and in some cases evidence.
In Abbas' case, the FBI was able to track down the 'Billionaire Gucci Master' through his social media. In one way the Instagram and Snapchat feed allowed the FBI to identify and match identity verification for proof of who he was.
The FBI in their affidavit also detailed how the linked numbers and email addresses were used to track him down. Interestingly, the post on his birthday allowed them to match his date of birth as well, said CNN.
Abbas' lawyers have insisted, as reported by the Quartz Africa that he ran a 'legitimate business' as an entrepreneur and was earning money through promoting brands on Instagram.
It's yet to be seen what will come through the investigation and the trial. However, if Abbas is convicted he will be serving 20 years in prison.