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How Flashy Nigerian Alleged Cybercriminals Hushpuppi, Woodbery And Gang Were Nabbed By FBI Before Robbing EPL Team


Nigerian Hushpuppi flaunting his extravagant lifestyle (COURTESY)

The birth of social media has been a blessing to some and a curse to others, with some of the world’s wealthiest people flashing their extravagant lifestyles within a flash of a camera.

Instagram has played a huge role in distorting the realities of life such that people have gone above and beyond to live a fake life for the sake of a few likes and followers.

If you are on Instagram, you must have had a sneak peek of profiles of Nigerians Ramon Olorunwa Abbas famously known as Hushpuppi and Olalekan Ponle who goes by the name Woodbery. From extravagant parties, drinking the most expensive alcohol, travelling first-class, wearing world-class designer clothes and having exotic women by their side, these two have surely proved how living life on the first lane looks like.

Read: Facebook Incorporates Messenger Safeguard to Protect Users From Scammers, Fake Accounts

On June 10, 2020, social media was thrown into a frenzy with the news of the arrest of Hushpuppi. Online reports and videos captured the tycoon surrounded by heavy police in Dubai as he was matched into a vehicle for alleged fraud.

According to BBC, police in Emirates are said to have recovered $40 million (Ksh4 billion) in cash, 13 luxury cars worth $6.8 million (Ksh680 million), 21 computers, 47 smartphones and the addresses of nearly two million alleged victims.

During the operation, Woodberry was also not left behind as he was arrested for alleged Money laundering and cybercrimes.

Read Also: DCI Urges Kenyans To Stay Vigilant As Online Scammers Take Advantage Of Stay-at-Home Order

Details of the arrest of the two alongside their gang indicate that they had been trailed by FBI agents since last year as they have been operating in different ways to execute cyber heists.

Further, Woodbery is said to have asked his co-conspirators to convert his shares into bitcoins while Hushpuppi favoured cash with different accounts opened in several parts of the world. As soon as the money was converted into bitcoin, it lost trail hence became hard to trace.

Questions have always lingered regarding their sources of wealth since very little was known about their jobs but the two have often castigated their critics alluding that they were self-made while ideally accrediting God for their flashy lifestyles.

According to an online publication, Hushpuppi and his gang conspired to launder millions of dollars that were proceeds of other fraudulent schemes including a scheme to steal £100 million (Ksh10 billion) from an unnamed English Premier League football club.

Read Also: Fraudsters Invent New Techniques Using Banks, Paybill Numbers To Scam Kenyans Online

Following their arrest, Hushpuppi and Mr Woodbery were deported to the US and charged in a Chicago court with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars obtained from cybercrimes although they are yet to be asked to take a plea.

A former senior prosecutor in the office of the Attorney General in the US faulted their move to flash their extravagant lifestyle on social media terming it ignorance and carelessness.

“I think there’s probably a certain arrogance when they believe they’ve been careful about maintaining anonymity in their online identities, but they live high on the hog and get careless on social media,” Glen Donath said as quoted by BBC.

Read Also: Communications Authority Warns Unsuspecting Kenyans Of A SIM Card Scam

Nigeria has often been on the spotlight for cyber-related crimes with the title Yahoo boys giving the country a bad reputation.

In a raid last year in Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) paraded over sixty young men and women, mostly undergraduates notorious for online scams.

The gang reportedly used different software to alter their voices and fake signatures to hack into the bank details of victims and in turn, get away with huge sums of money. This was declared a menace with the government orchestrating ways to bring the suspects to book.

According to the majority of social media users, the arrests of Hushpuppi and Woodbery should be a lesson to avoid the pressures of life especially on social media where people rarely post about their failures.

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Written by Kahawa Tungu


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