Dubai Police have revealed how Instagram celebrity Hushpuppi and his gang made Dh1.6 billion (N168billion) from scamming 1.9 million victims.
Disclosing this in a video, Dubai Police said items worth $40.9m (Dh150 million) and over a dozen luxury cars were seized in the arrest of the Nigerian-born internet fraudster and his gang.
The Police said Hushpuppi, whose real name is Raymond Abbas, and his gang scammed their victims by creating websites that looked identical to those of well-known companies and banks. The gang then used emails and messages to prompt people to log in or make payments on the fake sites.
Hushpuppi and his gang also hacked corporate emails and rechanneled huge payments by companies into accounts they controlled.
According to the Police, Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry, was also arrested along with ten other men in an operation involving six police SWAT teams.
Confiscated from the gang were 21 computers and 47 smartphones in an operation dubbed Fox Hunt 2.
The police said the gang had 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of more than 1.92 million victims.
Dubai Police CID chief Brig Jamal Al Jalaf said. Hushpuppi, who posed as a real estate investor and businessman, with more than two million followers on Instagram, displayed his wealth via social media platforms, in an attempt to lure victims from all over the world.
He said, “The suspects targeted victims overseas by creating fake websites for well-known companies and banks in a bid to steal victims’ credit card information and then launder the stolen money.”
The police officer further explained: “They would send out letters from email addresses almost identical to those of legitimate companies, targeting customers of these companies, with the purpose of diverting payments to themselves.
“Initial information includes that he was part of this gang which fraudulently obtained cash and cars from people.
“His statement was taken by prosecution but this is just the beginning of prosecution investigations.”
Commenting on the arrest, Dubai Police chief Lt General Abdullah Al Marri said cyber crime and financial scams on victims at home and abroad remain a major focus for the Police.
“As criminals constantly change their criminal methods, the elite officers of Dubai Police work tirelessly with the latest technologies to tackle emerging and transnational organised crime,” he said.