United States’ court yesterday rejected bail application by suspected Nigerian internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, known online as ‘Hushpuppi’.
Forbes reported that the Billionaire Gucci Master was told by a judge on Monday in Chicago that he will remain detained until his trial later this year over money laundering allegations.
Appearing at a detention hearing, a court in the Northern District of Illinois ruled that Abbas will be transported to Los Angeles by the US Marshals Service, and will not be allowed to stay with his girlfriend’s uncle in Homewood, Illinois.
His trial is slated to be held in Los Angeles where the case was filed, rather from Chicago where the investigation is being handled.
Throughout the hearing Abbas’s lawyer denied that his client was a flight risk or a danger to the community, repeatedly rejecting the allegations made against his client by the FBI’s affidavit posted earlier this month.
The primary allegation leveled by the FBI is that Abbas was part of a network that made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from business email compromise frauds and other scams.
Assistant United States Attorney Melody Wells, a prosecutor in the Chicago district attorney’s office, convinced the court that Abbas is a flight risk, describing his “significant” financial assets, “deep ties to foreign countries” and a lack of ties to the United States.
Wells said Abbas had the “perfect recipe to flee the charges that he faces here.”
Abbas has sought to live with a girlfriend’s relative in Illinois, but this was queried by the prosecutor, arguing that Abbas had up to this point “never visited” the girlfriend or their child in the United States.
“There is no evidence that he has ever even met this ‘Uncle’ who would be the third party custodian under these circumstances,” Wells said.
The court ruled that there was “more than enough justification to order that the US Marshall bring Abbas to California as soon as possible to answer the complaint there.”
Ruling that Abbas had “A great incentive not to continue to respond to these proceedings here,” as he is “facing a long sentence.”
The court acknowledged the risks that in addition to holding passports to other countries – Saint Kitts and Nevis- Abbas has “access to large amounts of money” described by the court as “not chump change.”
According to the court, “The fact that you project a wealthy lifestyle … you gotta be doing something right to pay $10,000 a month for an apartment in Dubai … you have access to some real cash.”
Forbes reported that it has never included Abbas on its list of the World’s Billionaires.
Abbas is a Nigerian influencer with over 2.5 million followers on Instagram.
Known to his fans as Hushpuppi, Abbas has built a global following from posting pictures of his lavish spending on cars, watches, designer clothes, and private jets.
However, in late June the 37-year-old was arrested in Dubai, and arrived in the US on July 3 to face criminal charges over allegations he has made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from business email compromise frauds and other scams.
Last week Abbas’ lawyer Gal Pissetzky told Forbes that his client is, “Absolutely not guilty of the charges they are accusing him of,” describing Abbas as “an entrepreneur” who made his money legitimately through “real estate” and his work “promoting brands” as an “Instagram personality.”
At the hearing Pissetzky told the court that his client posed no flight risk because of the damage it would do to his credibility online.
“He is loved and respected. He is a celebrity. He would not want to ruin his credibility and status rather than stay here and face these allegations.”