The US Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California on Thursday described as false, reports (not by The PUNCH), that alleged international fraudster, Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi, committed over $400,000 fraud while in an American prison.
The court’s Director of Media Relations, Thom Mrozek, made this known in an email response to an inquiry by The PUNCH on Thursday.
According to him, the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not file any such allegation against Hushpuppi.
The court official also said the FBI Special Agent, Andrew Innocenti, who was said to have filed the fresh charges against Hushpuppi said he didn’t author such a document.
“After looking at the document excerpted in recent media accounts, the document appears to have been fabricated.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, which filed the case against Mr. Abbas, has not filed any such document.
“We have checked with the FBI agent who supposedly authored the document, and he confirms it is a fake,” Mrozek told The PUNCH.
The Dubai Police in the United Arab Emirates had in June 2020 arrested Hushpuppi and his gang. They were later extradited to the US for prosecution by the FBI.
In a plea agreement document sighted by The PUNCH, Hushpuppi subsequently pleaded guilty to various offences bordering on internet scam and money laundering, among others.
The document stated that Hushpuppi risks “20 years’ imprisonment; a 3-year period of supervised release; a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offence”.
The court also said Hushpuppi would be sentenced on July 11, 2022.
Innocenti had alleged that Hushpuppi contracted the services of suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, after a “co-conspirator,” Chibuzo Vincent, allegedly threatened to expose the alleged $1.1m fraud committed against a Qatari businessman.
Innocenti, who said he obtained voice calls and WhatsApp conversations between Kyari and Hushpuppi, had also alleged that the latter paid the police officer N8m or $20,600 for the arrest and detention of Vincent.
After months of footdragging, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), recently okayed the extradition of Kyari to the US for prosecution but the case of the ‘super cop’ in the net of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged narcotics crimes might stall the extradition proceeding.