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US Federal prosecutors officially charge Hushpuppi for fraud. Faces 20 years in US prison

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Ramon Olorunwa Abbas a.k.a. “Ray Hushpuppi” now faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in a US federal prison after being extradited from Dubai to the United States. 

In a statement released by the US Department of Justice, the suspected Nigerian fraudster was accused of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.

Hushpuppi made his initial U.S. court appearance this morning in Chicago, and he is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles in coming weeks.

Federal prosecutors who filed a criminal complaint filed on June 25, alleged that the suspected Nigerian fraudster is “one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars”. 

It was also alleged that Hushpuppi finances his opulent lifestyle of designer clothes, wearing expensive watches,  posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets through crime. 

The statement partly read; 

“BEC schemes as often involving a computer hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer.

 “BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cybercrimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “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.

“In 2019 alone, the FBI recorded $1.7 billion in losses by companies and individuals victimized through business email compromise scams, the type of scheme Mr. Abbas is charged with conducting from abroad.

“Technology has essentially erased geographic boundaries leaving trans-national criminal syndicates to believe that they are beyond the reach of law enforcement. The success in this case was the direct result of our trusted partnerships between the Department of Justice and our federal law enforcement colleagues. These partnerships helped dismantle a sophisticated organized crime group who preyed upon unsuspecting businesses. It is thanks to these partnerships that the American people can feel a bit more secure today.”

Hushpuppi and his suspected co-conspirators were accused of spearheading a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019. Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by them. 

He was also accused of conspiring to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world. Abbas allegedly provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe which he expected to receive €5 million (about $5.6 million) in each. 

The suspected Nigerian fraudster also allegedly conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anil J. Antony and Joseph B. Woodring of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.  If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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Laycon Releases Visuals for “HipHop”

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Laycon’s “HipHop” hit single off his “Who is Laycon” EP has officially been released. Laycon once again gives his fans, ‘Icons’, another reason to be vibrant and full of energy.

The video is set in a very celebratory mood, a party-esque ambience radiates from the video. The bromance between Laycon and Neo continues as Neo makes a cameo appearance in the music video.

“HipHop” is directed by ‘Boy wonder’, TG Omori who also made a cameo appearance while the song is produced by Echo the Guru and features Deshinor who supplies a nice chorus to the song with his brilliant voice.

Laycon is signed to Fierce Entertainment.

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The Weeknd Blasts Grammy’s for Snubbing Him

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R&B and Pop Superstar, The Weeknd aired out his annoyance and disgust over being snubbed by the Recording Academy Grammy Awards 2021.

Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd released one of the most (if not the most) acclaimed albums of 2020 in “After Hours” and had singles “Blinding Lights”, “Heartless”, “In Your Eyes”, “Alone”, “Too Late” off the album to notion the claim for Album of the Year and Song of the Year category.

With the way he dominated the Billboard charts in 2020, he well should have been in contention for Artist of the Year also he released crisp videos which could have been in line for the Video of the Year category but the organizers of the Grammy’s decided to turn blind eyes and deaf ears toward the singer’s contribution to the music scene in 2020.

“After Hours” positive reviews by critics and Billboard records.

The Weeknd did not let this grand omission pass him by as he voiced out his annoyance in form of tweet and told the organisers and everybody in charge of the award, the he deserves an apology alongside his fans and the entire industry for the way the have chosen to neglect his works.

He also made the bold accusation of them being corrupt and their lack of transparency, he tweeted: “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”

The Weekend won’t be the first artist to publicly criticize the Grammy Awards in recent years; Drake, Tyler the Creator, J. Cole, Kanye West and Eminem have all openly come out to air out their disgust at the way the award show is being operated.

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Burna Boy Gets Back To Back Grammy’s Nominations 2 Years In A Row

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Burna Boy in all actuality, shape and form keeps solidifying his claims as one of Africa’s greatest musicians and the world by large.

Like his last nod for the Grammy Awards, he is nominated for Best Global Album (previously “Best World Album”) for his 2020’s “Twice As Tall” album and just like the last time, he is being tipped to snatch the award and bring it home this time around.

Another Nigerian, making fans happy is Wizkid for his joint nomination with Beyoncé and SAINt JHN for Best Music Video of “Black Skin Girl”.

The 2021 Grammy Awards, 63rd of its kind will hold on January 31, 2021 and will be hosted by African-American TV personality, Trevor Noah.

The most nominated artist for next year’s Grammy’s is Beyoncé with Taylor Swift, Roddy Ricch and Dua Lipa getting 6 nominations each. Major upset of the year sees The Weeknd receiving zero accolades or recognition for the 63rd Grammy’s.

Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are major contenders for the most coveted Song of the Year and Album of the Year for “Black Parade” and “Folklore” album respectively.

Megan Thee Stallion flourishing year in Hip-Hop continues as she bags 4 nominations for Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance off of her single – “Savage”.

You can catch the full list at grammy.com

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