Hushpuppi: Popular Instagram celebrity and international fraudster

Ramon Abbas popularly known as Hushpuppi, he is an Instagram celebrity with over 2.5 million Instagram followers. He is considered by the FBI to be one of the world’s most high-profile fraudsters and faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years in the US after pleading guilty to money laundering.

He start his career as a “Yahoo Boy” hustler in Nigeria to a so-called “Billionaire Gucci Master” living a life of luxury in Dubai before his arrest last year.

The popular 37-year-old Instagram celebrity live in Oworonshoki, a poor coastal area in the north-east of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

According to a Local driver Seye told the BBC that he remembered Abbas as a young boy working alongside his mother in the Olojojo market. His father was a taxi driver.

 

As he grew older, Seye says, Abbas liked to splash his cash: “He was generous. He used to buy beer for everyone around.”

But everyone knew the source of his mysterious wealth – cybercrime; he was a “Yahoo”, Seye says.

Hushpuppi’s former home, 9 Ogunyomi Street in the Oworonshoki area of Lagos
image captionHushpuppi’s former home, 9 Ogunyomi Street, in the Oworonshoki area of Lagos
“Yahoo Boys” are romance scammers who took their name from the first free email available in Nigeria.

“They came up with the idea of stealing identities. And then with that identity theft, they went into dating [scams],” explains Dr Adedeji Oyenuga, a cybercrime expert at Lagos State University.

Once a relationship is established via a false identity, romance scammers wheedle money from their online lovers.

Like many Yahoo Boys, Abbas broadened his criminal horizons. Many went to Malaysia – and Abbas followed them, ending up in Kuala Lumpur around 2014, then Dubai in 2017.

 

Nigeria