About a week after the arrest of Ray Hushpuppi, the US Department of State has confirmed his arrest in an announcement that it sanctioned six Nigerian Internet fraudsters.
The alleged Internet fraudsters must have defrauded Americans to the tune of $6 million. There are indications that the statement was referring to Hushpuppi, Nigerian socialite and celebrity who was arrested alongside his other associates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Without mentioning Hushpuppi’s arrest, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said:
“Technological advancements that provide greater interconnectivity also offer greater opportunity for exploitation by malicious actors who target at-risk Americans. Today, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control took action against six Nigerian nationals, pursuant to Executive Order 13694 as amended, for conducting an elaborate online scheme to steal more than $6 million from victims across the United States.
The six individuals designated today manipulated their victims to gain access to their sensitive information and financial resources. The U.S. will not tolerate such gross misuse of technology. The United States will use all of the tools at our disposal to defend the American people and businesses from malign actors that seek to target them, including cyber-enabled actors who prey on vulnerable Americans and businesses.”
Huspuppi whose real name is Ramoni Igbalode (aka Raymond Igbalodely), has been based in Dubai for close to 10 years.
While the most popular associate who was known to have been arrested in the crackdown was Woodberry. There are indications that many more people were part of the suspects arrested in the Interpol and FBI raid. It is not clear who the sixth associate of Hushpuppi was during the arrest.
According to a Kemi Olunloyo, a blogger and an investigative journalist based in Nigeria claimed that she knows the identities of Hushpuppi’s associates who were arrested with him.
In a Twitter post, Kemi said:
“Pac” is another Dubai based big boy and in HushPuppi’s close knit inner circle. He was arrested alongside HP. Flashy luxurious items on IG page. Real name not known. Authorities will release later.”
“Sean the Escaper was also arrested and he’s HushPuppi’s PA. He is described as a right hand man errand boy. They live together at Palazzo Versace in Dubai.”
“Mr Woodberry was arrested alongside HushPuppi as a member of his hardworking team.”
“Finally Tony Roma nickname who is also a Nigerian and also arrested with the rest of the team. All 5 men are being held at an Interpol facility in Dubai city,” she said.
Out of all the suspects arrested with Hushpuppi, Woodberry is perhaps another high profile person. He was known to be stupendously rich without a visible source of his wealth. Unlike Hushpuppi, Woodberry is less open with his wealth. However, in March of 2019, he announced that he acquired a twin collection of 2019 edition of Lamborghini Urus at over $200,000 and the 2019 Rolls Royce black badge dawn.
According to the unconfirmed charges by the Interpol, Hushpuppi’s Internet fraud gang were accused of exploiting COVID-19 benefits to scam the American government by diverting the benefits from the unemployed victims. The report alleged that the gang must have stolen over $35 million in unemployed benefits.