Dubai police have extradited suspected Nigerian fraudsters, Ramon Igbalode Abbas a.k.a Hushpuppi and Olalekan Jacon Ponle a.k.a Mr. Woodberry to the United States and handed over to the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
A statement released yesterday by the Dubai Police confirmed that Hushpuppi was extradited to the US along with another internet fraud suspect, Ponle.
Hushpuppi and Woodberry along with ten other alleged cybercriminals were arrested recently in a special operation dubbed “Fox Hunt 2”.
The suspects were caught in a series of synchronised raids by six SWAT teams from Dubai Police who foiled the gang’s bid to deceive many people from around the world and steal their money.
The statement said the FBI thanked Dubai Police for arresting and extraditing Husspuppi and Woodberry.
While praising Dubai Police for their cooperation in extraditing the wanted suspects to the United States, it said FBI Director, Christopher Wray, praised the exceptional efforts of the United Arab Emirate, represented by the Dubai Police General HQ, in combating transnational organised cybercrime.
Quoting the Director of Dubai CID, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, the statement said the raids that led to the arrests resulted in the confiscation of “incriminating documents of a planned fraud on a global scale worth AED 1.6 billion ($ 435 million).”
Al Jallaf said “The team also seized more than AED 150 million ($40.9 million) in cash, 13 luxury cars with an estimated value of AED 25 million ($6.8 million) obtained from fraud crimes, and confiscated 21 computer devices, 47 smartphones, 15 memory sticks, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims.”
According to the statement, after conducting further investigations and analysing confiscated electronic devices, Dubai Police investigators uncovered sensitive information mined by the suspects on individuals and companies overseas including bank accounts and fake credit cards as well as documents and files.
Dubai police had alleged that Hushpuppi’s principal scam was to create websites that looked identical to well-known companies and banks.
He and his accomplices then reportedly used emails and messages to prompt people to log in or make payments on the fake sites.
The gang allegedly hacked corporate emails and directed huge payments by companies towards accounts they controlled.
Police said email addresses for 800,000 potential victims were discovered, and that the gang could have scammed as much as Dh1.6 billion from victims.
Hushpuppi posed as a real estate investor and businessman, with more than two million followers on Instagram.
His account shows a lavish display of wealth, landing at Atlantis, The Palm in a helicopter and flying across the globe by private yet.
In one image, he poses with his lime green Brabus Mercedes-AMG G63 – which retails in Europe for close to half a million dollars – wearing a lime green tracksuit to match.
In others, he wears Louis Vuitton tracksuits, a $150,000 Richard Mille watch and poses outside the Four Seasons hotel in Paris.
At a wedding in Dubai attended by Nigerian celebrities that made headlines in Nigeria, he was seen in a video dancing around the room throwing $100 notes into the air.
Hushpuppi posed as a successful businessman “celebrating his wealth via social media platforms, in an attempt to lure victims from all over the world,” Dubai Police CID Chief, Al Jalaf, said.
“The suspects targeted victims overseas by creating fake websites for well-known companies and banks in a bid to steal victims’ credit card information and then launder the stolen money,” he said.