A group of six ‘international’ conmen were on their way to making a cool Ksh120 million without breaking their back, just sweet talks and the amount was wired into their accounts.
Led by Kenya’s Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, alias Abdul, Nigerians Ramon Abass alias Hushpuppi, Deputy Commissioner of Police Alhaji Kyari, Kelly Chibuzo, Rukayat Motunray and Bolatito Tawakalitu, the six lied to a Qatar businessman that they could secure a Ksh1.6 billion loan for him from Kenya.
According to revelations by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the whole saga was masterminded by the 28-year-old Kenyan.
“Abbas and the other Defendants participated in a scheme to defraud a person (the “Victim Businessperson”) who was seeking a lender to invest $15 million (Ksh1.5 billion) in a project to build an international school in Qatar (the “Qatari Victim Company”). The scheme defrauded the Victim Businessperson of more than $1.1 million (Ksh120 million),” says FBI special agent Andrew John Innocenti.
Juma claimed to own a company in Kenya Westload Financial Solutions) that would provide the loan, while Hushpuppi pretended to be “Malik,” a banker at Wells Fargo in the United States, who was purportedly facilitating the loan payment.
Juma was associated with the Kenyan law firm “Okatch & Partners,” which was one of the companies that received funds sent by the Qatari Victim Company.
“On around December 6 and 7, 2019, the Victim Businessperson wired approximately USD $150,000 (Ksh16.3 million) to Okatch in four transactions,” adds Innocenti.
Chibuzo was involved in creating a fraudulent website and automated phone line that would convince the Victim Businessperson that the $15 million loan had been secured. In the course of the scheme, the Victim Businessperson made multiple payments purportedly for taxes and other fees, which Juma and Hushpuppi told the Victim Businessperson were necessary to secure the loan.
At the time Hushpuppi joined the conspiracy in December 2019, Juma had already defrauded the Victim Businessperson of approximately $314,442.78 (Ksh34 million).
When he joined the syndicate, Hushpuppi convinced the Victim Businessperson to make wire transfers of $230,000 (Ksh25 million) to a Wells Fargo bank account of a luxury watch-seller and $100,000 (Ksh11 million) to a Capital One bank account of Agbabiaka in late December 2019.
Hushpuppi used the wire transfer of $230,000 to purchase a luxury Richard Mille RM11-03 watch. He arranged for the watch seller in Florida to ship the watch to the New York metropolitan area,
where Agbabiaka and Fashola picked it up and ultimately delivered it to a coconspirator, who was a relative of Fashola.
Hushpuppi then directed that person to transport the watch on a flight from John F. Kennedy InternationalAirport in New York to the U.A.E., where that person hand-delivered the watch to Hushpuppi on January 4, 2020.
He (Hushpuppi) posted a photograph of himself on Instagram wearing the watch, with the hashtag “#Rm1103,” on January 13, 2020.
The rest of the Ksh11 million was wired to a conspirator, who changed the amount to Nigerian Naira for Hushpuppi.
The conmen wanted more money from their victim, and between January 8, 2020 and February 4, 2020, Juma and Hushpuppi each corresponded with the Victim Businessperson, attempting to fraudulently induce the Victim Businessperson to pay $575,000 (Ksh62 million) in purported “taxes” to release the $15 million loan that the Victim Businessperson was expecting.
Between February 5 and 7, 2020, the Victim Businessperson wire transferred $299,983.58 (Ksh33 million) to bank accounts under Juma’s control.
Chibuzo’s messages to Hushpuppi during that time show that he was unhappy with the amount that, and/or speed with which, Hushpuppi was paying him, so he contacted the Victim Businessperson directly.
Chibuzo told the Victim Businessperson that Juma and Hushpuppi were “fake,” in an attempt to convince the Victim Businessperson to stop making fraudulent payments to Hushpuppi and Juma, and to make fraudulent payments to him instead.
When Juma and Hushpuppi learned of Chibuzo’s interference, Hushpuppi arranged to have Kyari—a highly decorated Deputy Commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force—arrest Chibuzo for interfering with the fraud scheme.
Hushpuppi specifically told Kyari that Chibuzo contacted “the job” behind Hushpuppi’s back to “divert the job for himself.” He asked Kyari to have the police administer the “serious beating of his life” and arranged with Kyari to pay to keep Chibuzo imprisoned for at least a month so that the fraud scheme could be successfully executed, and the money could be obtained.
Abba Kyari. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]After Kyari arrested Chibuzo, he sent Hushpuppi photographs of Chibuzo in custody and later told him that he would not allow Chibuzo’s girlfriend to pay money to get him out of custody as he would have done for a “normal arrest.”
Following Chibuzo’s arrest, Juma and Hushpuppi convinced the Victim Businessperson to make the
payments of $299,983.58 (Ksh33 million).
In mid-February 2020, the Victim Businessperson came to believe that Juma had defrauded him. Hushpuppi, still pretending to be “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker, purported to sympathize with the Victim Businessperson and then fraudulently induced the Victim Businessperson to make additional wire transfers of $100,000 (Ksh11 million) to Agbabiaka and $80,000 (Ksh8.6 million) to a different coconspirator, which were laundered through a variety of means.
At the same time, Hushpuppi led Juma to believe that he had not received any additional payments from the Victim Businessperson.
Recently, Hushpuppi pleaded guilty to money laundering and other fraudulent schemes in a California Court.
The 37-year-old popularly known for his lavish lifestyle of fast cars, jets, and designer clothes was involved in business email scams that cost his victims nearly $24 million (Ksh2.6 billion).