Hacker tried to con Premier League club out of £100m via BEC scam

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian hacker, is facing up to twenty years in prison after he was extradited from Dubai to the United States for carrying out BEC scams targeting an English Premier League club, a foreign bank, and a U.S. law firm.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Abbas used various social media profiles named “Ray Hushpuppi” and “Hush” to show off his lavish lifestyle through pictures that placed him in expensive hotels, wearing designer clothes, wearing expensive watches, and driving expensive cars in Dubai.

However, behind the expensive curtains, Abbas was, in fact, a fine-tuned cyber criminal, conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams targeting a number of organisations worldwide.

Among his chosen targets was an English Premier League club from whom he intended to steal £100 million, reads an FBI complaint, but it has not been revealed how he intended to victimise the club or whener he managed to steal anything prior to his arrest and eventual extradition from the UAE.

“The FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas finances this opulent lifestyle through crime, and that he 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,” reads the criminal complaint filed against Abbas.

Abbas targeted financial firms and law firms through BEC scams as well

Aside from targeting a football club, Abbas's other crimes included an attempt to launder $14.7 million stolen from a foreign financial institution in February 2019 and stealing approximately $922,857 in October 2019 from a New York-based law firm through a BEC scam.

According to the FBI, 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 Abbas and the co-conspirators.

“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,” Hanna added.

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