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How Hushpuppi Committed $400,000 Fraud Inside US Prison

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FBI Seeks 11 Years Imprisonment For Hushpuppi, $2.2m Fine

Infamous fraudster Hushpuppi is again in the news, but this time, for committing over $400,000 fraud while in United States (US) prison.

On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, US prosecutors presented documents before the US District Court of California with fresh evidence indicting Hushpuppi of committing fraud and money laundering in a federal correctional facility.

In court documents obtained from the US Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Central District of California, Hushpuppi, while in a US federal correctional facility, participated in the purchase and laundering of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) debit cards fraudulently obtained from compromised data of US citizens and residents.

EIPs are financial support offered by the US government to residents according to the CARES Act. It is also called stimulus package or stimulus check. One of the ways eligible US residents obtain their EIP is by debit cards. From the documents presented in court, it was found that hackers use data of US residents to file and obtain those debit cards. They sell off these EIP cards in underground marketplaces to other cybercriminals.

US prosecutors said Hushpuppi’s recent frequent internet usage triggered a red flag and they monitored and recorded his internet activity. The court document read:

Security alerts on Abbas’ activities

  • Inmates in correctional facilities across the US are allowed certain activities which includes access to phone calls, video calls, the internet, and computers with limited and regulated usage
  • Inmates have constitutional rights to their privacy. Phone calls from correctional facilities by inmates are not recorded except when necessary and a warrant is obtained for this purpose. Inmates’ internet activities are not logged or recorded except when necessary and a warrant is obtained for this purpose.
  • Abbas was also allowed these privileges like every other inmate.
  • Between 28th January 2022 and 4th March 2022, security officers at the US Federal correctional facility, Central District of California, observed more frequent usage of the internet by Abbas. With the knowledge that the crimes Abbas committed which he is being charged for are all internet related crimes, security officers were concerned and informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • On 7th March 2022, investigators obtained a federal search warrant, issued by Central District of California, to monitor and record Abbas’ internet activities.
  • Security officers at the US Federal correctional facility, Central District of California, were instructed to setup a dedicated computer for Abbas. Any time Abbas requests for access to the internet, he should be given that dedicated computer. Only Abbas should be given that computer.
  • From 7th March 2022 to 13th March 2022, investigators monitored and recorded Abbas’ internet activities. In this period, he requested internet access daily. He spent an average of 55 minutes for each session.
  • During this period, we found out that Abbas was actively buying Economic Impact Payments debit cards from an underground cybercriminal marketplace where hackers sell EIP debit cards for Bitcoins.

The document went further to detail their shocking findings while recording Hushpuppi’s activities.

EIP debit cards purchase and money laundering

  • Investigators found out that Abbas uses an underground cybercriminal marketplace called StimulusCard which is a marketplace for hackers to sell EIP debit cards for Bitcoins.
  • On StimulusCard, hackers listed EIP debit cards with different balances. Investigators found EIP debit cards with $1,400 balance to as high as $8,000. These EIP cards were applied for by hackers using compromised and stolen data of US citizens and residents.
  • Investigators found out that criminals can order a virtual option of EIP debit cards and receive it instantly. They use this for online purchases. Criminals can also order for the plastic version of EIP debit cards and they receive it to their mail address.
  • Abbas bought between seven to 10 EIP debit cards daily for the period he was recorded. He purchased a total of 58 EIP debit cards in this period, with a total value of $429,800.
  • Of the 58 EIP debit cards, Abbas chose the virtual card option for 36 EIP cards and he selected the plastic physical card option for 22 EIP cards.
  • Abbas was in constant communication with one AJ. Abbas sent all the cards he bought from StimulusCard to AJ. Abbas gave instructions to AJ on what to shop online. He gave instructions on what to do with the purchased items. Abbas also gave instructions on cash withdrawal from ATMs with the plastic cards.

In the document, the prosecutors mentioned Hushpuppi was constantly buying high-end gadgets such as iPhones, gaming consoles, MacBooks, and iPads through his primary contact AJ. Investigators could not ascertain the total proceeds Hushpuppi has laundered from this fraud. Their recorded evidence was for a total of $429,800.

US prosecutors said they are on a mission to unmask the identity of Abbas’ accomplice AJ. They said they are also working with relevant authorities and bodies to take down the underground cybercriminal marketplace, StimulusCard.

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Abuja-Kaduna Rail Services To Resume On Monday

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Abuja-Kaduna Rail Services To Resume On Monday

The Abuja-Kaduna rail services resume operations on Monday, November 28, 2022.

This is coming eight months after the service was suspended due to terrorist attacks on the line.

A source within the Idu rail station disclosed this development.

It had been reported that terrorists attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022, kidnapping 168 passengers and killing eight others.

The release of the victims had been in batches since then, with the last 23 released in October.

According to the source, some contractors were at the Idu rail station to install the tracker and cameras.

They couldn’t install the cameras but they installed the trackers on LOKO 2809 and on DMU 003.

“The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Coporation, Fidet Okhiria, is seriously monitoring it from Lagos. We are proposing to start running by Monday,” the source added.

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Bashir Baba: Buhari Mourns Late Veteran Journalist

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Bashir Baba: Buhari Mourns Late Veteran Journalist

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the death of veteran journalist, Bashir Mohammed Baba.

Describing him as a ‘dedicated broadcaster’, Buhari eulogized the television analyst, through a post by his media aide, Garba Shehu.

The President stated that the deceased had distinguished himself in his chosen profession and therefore deserves the accolades being poured on his excellent record.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo: Nigeria Preparing Future For Boko Haram

“Whatever we do in life, we should do it so well, because ultimately, our good record will speak for us beyond the grave. We are proud of the good record Bashir Baba had built for himself for over four decades as a journalist.

“His contributions to creating public awareness are indelible and this favorable record will speak for his memory for years to come,” President Buhari extolled the deceased.

Buhari commiserated with the friends and family of Bashir Baba, praying to Allah to forgive the departed soul.

Baba passed away in the early hours of Saturday, 26th of November, as a result of injuries from complications from domestic accidents in his bathroom.

Bashir Baba an experienced journalist of over four decades who began with NTA, is an analyst with BBC, VOA, DW-Radio as well as Prestige Radio, Minna  Niger State, flagship program, ‘Kasar Mu a Yau’ as well as Idon Mikiya program of Farin Wata Television/Vision FM.

He anchored flagship programs at Liberty Television. He was also Senior Assistant Media (Foreign Affairs Ministry) under Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali.

His burial rite is to take place in Kano State, today, 27th November.

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Nigerian Students In UK Lament Frustration From Banks

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Nigerian Students In UK Lament Frustration From Banks

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in the United Kingdom (UK), has lamented the frustration from banks that its members face.

Airing the frustrations, the president of NANS in the UK, Shoyemi Peper-Hade revealed that “the issue is very straightforward. First, there is the inability of Nigerian banks to process Form A – a form used for foreign payments – on time. Also, the banks have refused to refund the affected students their money so that they can look for alternatives. We got a message that the university in question, the University of Hull, England, messaged one of the affected banks. They said they had given the bank one week to remit the money into the school’s account, but the bank has not responded to that mail to the best of my knowledge. Now, the affected students are saying, ‘Give us our money back!’ But the bank has refused to do so till date. We are talking about money that was dropped with the bank in September but they have yet to process the payment till now (November 23, 2022) as we speak.

The students are on the verge of being sent home. In fact, the school has told the 11 affected students since November 7 to go back to Nigeria and try again next year. This is very frustrating. We are talking of students who sold a lot of assets to be in the UK in search of education and a better life. It is depressing. They have done everything to make these banks comply, but all to no avail.”

They don’t have UK accounts yet because they are new in the country. Most of them came to the UK in September. So, they have yet to even process their personal accounts. They were given until October 30 to register to be eligible to access all the services in the UK, but the banks in Nigeria are frustrating these students. The deposits had to be made before they could even get visas. The way it works is that before leaving for the UK, you have to put some money in the Form A. The minimum is around £2,000. When this money is paid, one can then apply for a visa. So, the bank has an agreement with the university that once the students arrive in the UK, the money will be paid. But, this has not been the case. For now, of all the universities, it is only the University of Hull that uses Form A. All other universities have stopped it because of similar issues like this,” he added.

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