Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas popularly known as Hushpuppi has reportedly received fresh charges as US prosecutors submitted court documents showing that he committed fraud and laundered over $400,000 while in prison.
The documents which were presented before the United States District Court of California on Wednesday, March 16 unveiled fresh evidence indicting HushPuppi of committing fraud and money laundering in U.S Federal correctional facility.
The court documents stated that Hushpuppi, while in U.S Federal correctional facility, participated in the purchase and laundering of Economic Impact Payment debit cards fraudulently obtained from stolen data of U.S citizens and residents.
Economic Impact Payments are financial support offered by the US government to U.S residents according to the CARES Act. One of the ways eligible US residents receive their Economic Impact Payments is by debit cards.
From the documents presented in court, it was discovered that hackers use data of U.S residents to file and obtain Economic Impact Payments debit cards. They sell off these EIP cards in underground marketplaces to other cyber criminals.
United States authorities stated further that although prisoners have limited access to telephone, video, internet and computer use because of their right to privacy in a court filing. Like the rest of the detainees, Hushpuppi was granted access to the computer network as well.
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However, between January 28 and March 4, 2022, security authorities at a federal prison in the United States noticed that Hushpuppi was using the internet more often.A dedicated system was setup for him and his activities were recorded for seven days.
It was found that Hushpuppi was actively buying EIP debit cards from an underground cyber criminal marketplace called StimulusCard (“https://stimuluscard.com/”). While being recorded, Hushpuppi bought a total of 58 EIP debit cards with a total value of $429,800 on the site and laundered the money through one AJ.