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U.S. Bureau Of Prisons Set To Probe Internet Fraudster, Hushpuppi Over Viral Photos Of Feast In New Jersey Jail

The United States authority has said it will probe a viral video of someone believed to be convicted internet fraud kingpin, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, after holding a feast with others inside what was reported as his detention facility at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Hushpuppi is currently serving an 11-year sentence, in the U.S.

His ally and social media influencer, Tunde Adekunle, alias Tunde Ednut, celebrated his birthday on January 22.

Some fans and other celebrities joined the birthday across Nigeria and parts of the U.S. and a video surfaced showing a feast of different foods, including jollof rice, pasta and soda drinks, in what appeared to be a jail facility.

“Tunde Ednut, you can see that we are celebrating you in our own little way o,” said a voice which many Nigerians said belonged to Mr Abbas in the video that went viral on September 22.

“Fried rice is ready, Tunde Ednut birthday celebration. Jollof loading, pasta is here as you can see,” the voice continued as the person, who hid his face behind the camera, displayed a variety of delicacies on a white table.

The video, which the Peoples Gazette analysed, showed a grey double bunk and a bed covered in white sheets. The features reminiscent of a prison interior stoked rumours that Mr Abbas was having a swell time celebrating his friend’s birthday behind bars.

Nigerians familiar with Mr Abbas’ voice insisted that he was the one in the viral video. Mr Abbas, 41, was convicted for his role in a multimillion-dollar international fraud scheme in 2022.

However, the United States Bureau of Prisons told Peoples Gazette that the investigative department would take charge of the inquiry to ascertain the facts or lack thereof about the viral video.

“We take these matters seriously,” the prison facility said, adding that its investigative department would take charge of the inquiry to ascertain the facts— or lack thereof— about the viral video.

It was earlier reported that efforts made by Hushpuppi to reduce his 11-year sentence met a brick wall as the Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles, U.S. dismissed his application.

Abbas had appealed to the court for a review and reduced sentence, citing his behaviour during his stay in jail.

SaharaReporters had reported that Abbas in 2022 was convicted for money laundering and a series of online scams in tens of millions of dollars.

However, after reappraising his chances of success, according to Peoples Gazette, he raised the motion to appeal the sentence. The motion was filed in November 2022, two weeks after Judge Otis Wright sent him to jail.

The convict had enrolled in prison educational courses and also taken an active role in cleaning prison facilities, becoming one of the correctional facility’s top toilet cleaners, in a bid to earn a lighter sentence.

Still, the appellate judges remained implacable in their decision to deny his appeal.

The judgment was made on January 19. It was announced by Molly Dwyer, the court’s clerk, on behalf of the appellate judges.

Olalekan Jacob Ponle popularly known as Mr. Woodberry, recently asked the United States Court of Appeals to reduce his eight-year jail term on the grounds that the sentence was wrongly calculated.

Woodberry, an internet fraudster and an ally of Hushpuppi, had pleaded guilty to count one of the eight counts brought against him in the US.

He further agreed to surrender $8 million in proceeds of wire fraud as well as luxury cars and watches to the foreign government.

Woodberry earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges in which he was accused of engaging in a fraudulent scheme known as Business Email Compromise (BEC).

He was arrested in Dubai on June 10, 2020, alongside Hushpuppi.

He was subsequently convicted in July 2023 for scamming individuals and businesses of millions of dollars.


Hushpuppi’s Associate, Woodberry, Pleads Guilty, Forfeits $8m, Assets

Olalekan Jacob Ponle, the NIgerian man who is more populalry known as Mr Woodberry, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, The PUNCH reports.

He also agreed to forfeit $8 million in proceeds of wire fraud as well as luxury cars and watches to the foreign government.

Mr Woodberry, a known associate of the now-imprisoned internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, better known as Hushpuppi, recently in a plea declaration submitted at the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division on April 6, pleaded guilty to count one of the indictments, the Peoples Gazette reports.

According to his plea agreement, he is required to pay back the sum of $8 million he fraudulently received from the seven companies that fell for his scam.

“Defendant understands that by pleading guilty, he will subject to forfeiture to the United States all right, title, and interest that he has in any property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offence,” stated the document containing Mr Ponle’s signed plea declaration.

Mr Ponle was also asked to waive his rights to the luxury cars, and designer watches he had stashed in Dubai.

The high-end automobiles include Rolls Royce Cullinan with vehicle no J9153, Lamborghini Urus (N4973) and Mercedes-Benz G-class (G68816).

Other items seized are four Rolex watches, one Patek Philippe watch, three Audemars Piguet watches, three gold and diamond-studded earrings, and six gold neck chains.

Last year, he forfeited 151.8 Bitcoin to the American government.

Mr Ponle was arrested in Dubai on June 10, 2020, alongside Ramon Hushpuppi Abbas, currently serving an 11-year sentence for a similar fraud charge.

Before his arrest in 2020, Mr Woodberry was known for rocking expensive designer wear and showing off his ill-gotten wealth to his massive Instagram followers, the majority of whom had no inkling his luxury lifestyle was funded by cybercrime.

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Hushpuppi tells the judge when forfeiting properties, “I’m A Changed Man, My Priorities In Life Has Changed.”

Hushpuppi stated that he only gained $300,000 from the crimes, and that he would refund $1.7 million in reparation to those who fell for his deceptive tactics. 

Ramon Abass, alias Hushpuppi, a well-known Instagram big boy from Nigeria who has committed fraud, has claimed to have reformed and is appealing for mercy before being sentenced.

Hushpuppi begged trial judge Otis Wright of the US Central District of California to tamper with justice with mercy in a handwritten letter before his sentence in November. 

He sent the judge a tearful letter on September 9 when he was being held in McFarland, California’s Central Valley Annex Prison. 

The three-page letter was one of the legal filings his attorneys have made so far, pleading with the judge to reduce his sentence from the range determined under the statute.

Hushpuppi stated that he only gained $300,000 from the crimes, and that he would refund $1.7 million in reparation to those who fell for his deceptive tactics.

“Your Honour, I totally recognise the seriousness of my offence and no amount of sorry can right my wrong in the hearts of the victims and this is why I have decided to use my personal money to offset all of the entire $1,700,000 restitution even though I only benefited a fraction of $300,000 plus but it makes me feel better that all the victims get every of their penny back,” he wrote.

He added: “I personally consider it as part punishment for myself and it’s the right thing to do. Your Honour, I really am a changed person in the way I think, see life and make decisions.

“My priorities in life has (sic) changed, my focus in life has shifted, I have realised how precious life and freedom is and how important it is to be on the right side of the law.

“Your Honour, I will like to plead with you to see my act of forfeiting my properties that I worked hard for, for many years, for full restitution repayment as part punishment as well.”

Since his arrest in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and extradition to the US in June 2020, the Nigerian has been held without charge.