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11 Year Money Laundering Sentence for Instagram Influencer

Money laundering is a serious crime, and if convicted, you could receive an arduous prison sentence. Ramon Abbas, known as “Ray Hushpuppi”, a Nigerian influencer, was recently sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for laundering the proceeds of various scams. He was ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution to victims.

If you have been accused of money laundering and you’re wondering what your next steps should be, the answer is to hire an experienced money laundering defense attorney immediately.

Before he was convicted, “Ray Hushpuppi” lived a lavish lifestyle in the public eye, posting on Instagram about being an inspiration to young people. These fortunes quickly turned around when he was arrested by FBI agents in Dubai. Investigating agents said his social media accounts provided a wealth of evidence. 

What is Money Laundering and How Is it Proved? 

To prove a money laundering case, the money doesn’t have to be traced back to criminal activity and it doesn’t have to be proved that the accused knew the exact criminal activity that generated the funds. The prosecution only has to prove that the accused knew the funds were gained from illicit activities. 

The Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA) of 1986 (18 U.S.C. section 1956) prohibits individuals or entities from conducting or attempting to conduct financial transactions using proceeds they know have come from criminal activities with the intent to:

  • Promote the criminal activity
  • Violate tax laws
  • Conceal the source, ownership, or control of the money
  • Avoid federal or state tax reporting requirements. 

The Money Laundering Control Act also covers international money laundering schemes, though the financial transaction needs to occur at least in part in the US. 

Business Email Compromise Scheme Crackdown

Ramon Abbas was convicted of conspiring to launder money from bank cyber heists and business email compromise schemes (BEC), in which a business is sent a fraudulent email inducing the business to make a large wire transfer. Abbas was described by the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office as “one of the most prolific money launderers in the world.”  United States Attorney, Martin Estrada stated that it was time for a law enforcement crack down on business email compromise schemes. 

Money laundering is a crime which usually has a number of victims and the charges carry severe fines of up to twice the value of the property involved. If found guilty, defendants could face up to twenty years in prison.

If you have been accused of money laundering, you need to take steps to fight for your rights immediately. At Dhar Law, LLP, we are award-winning white collar defense attorneys who have decades of experience fighting the most serious criminal cases in state and federal courts including money laundering. Please contact our experienced Boston money laundering criminal defense lawyers to learn how we can assist you with your case. 

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
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