Inside the wild story; rise, and eventual fall of Nigerian Instagram star Ray Hushpuppi

Instagram is a strange place of culture; fame, fame-hungry individuals, and last but not least apparently lavishly-protected Nigerian Instagram stars that are actually highly manoeuvred and concocted scam artists.

Enter: Ray Hushpuppi. Hushpuppi as he is oddly known online was arrested in June as part of a joint operation between the American FBI and Dubai ‘s police force. Both forces allege that Hushpuppi and his co-conspirators aren’t actually wildly rich but instead running a well-oiled stunning cyberscam that has taken quite literally half-of-the-world by storm.

Hushpuppi claims to be a real estate developer according to his Twitter profile (lending credence to the glamorous facade he led for years according to the feds.). But both Dubai and American authorities say that none of his lavish lifestyle is in fact real, mostly, because he was using privatised computer systems to phish people and businesses into clicking links and enter their financial information.

As the weekend kicked off last week, Ray and at least one of his accomplices appeared in federal court in Chicago to face questions over money laundering charges. Reports show that Hushpuppi is accused along with his accomplices of running a moneylaundering and cyberscam operation that eventually hauled hundreds-of-millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims.

The feds allege that Hushpuppi and his team of criminals used things like BEC (Business Email Compromise.).

Note: In terms of BEC, think of those really odd but usually pretty funny e-mail scams you’d find if you ventured into the dark realms of your Junk inbox.

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“This case targets a key player in a large, transnational conspiracy who was living an opulent lifestyle in another country while allegedly providing safe havens for stolen money around the world. As this case demonstrates, my office will continue to hold such criminals accountable, no matter where they live,” US Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement per multiple news outlets.

Extradited?

The U.S doesn’t actually have a treaty with the UAE of any kind. So as it stands, it remains unclear how the U.S legally entered the UAE to carry out this operation. Lawyers for Hushpuppi argue that he was wrongfully extradited and kidnapped, the U.S claims he was expelled and right fully taken.

What do they have on Hushpuppi?

Federal warrants show multiple victims spanning multiple countries. One in New York for example is alleged to have lost upwards of $1m in 2019 at the hands of HP and his scheme. Others range from as small as $50,000 to $1m or more.

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