Metro & Crime

Dubai extradites Hushpuppi, Woodberry to U.S.

Police in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), yesterday said the celebrated alleged internet fraud kingpin, Raymond Igbalode Abbas aka ‘Hushpuppi,’ was extradited to the United States after his arrest. The police also disclosed in a statement that Hushpuppi’s alleged accomplice, Olalekan Jacob Ponle aka ‘Woodberry,’ was also extradited to the United States after their arrest in Dubai last month. The Dubai CID Director, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, said the raid, codenamed ‘Fox Hunt,’ which resulted in Hushpuppi’s arrest, led to the confiscation of incriminating documents of a planned fraud on a global scale worth about $435 million. Hushpuppi, Woodberry and 10 others were arrested after they were accused of committing crimes outside the UAE.

The police listed their alleged offences to include money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonating, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft. Al Jallaf said the police also seized more than $40.9 million in cash. According to him, 13 luxury cars worth about $6.8 million obtained from fraud crimes were also recovered from the suspects. He said: “The team confiscated 21 computer devices, 47 smartphones, 15 memory sticks, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims.” Meanwhile, the American Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has expressed gratitude to the UAE crime watchdog for its role in apprehending and extraditing Hushpuppi and Woodberry.

The FBI Director, Christopher Wray, gave the commendation after Hushpuppi and Woodberry, two of the most wanted suspected cyber criminals, were handed over to the United States. Wray applauded the efforts of the Dubai Police in combating transnational organised cybercrime. Hushpuppi and Woodberry were alleged to have carried out multiple cybercrimes before their arrest. Hushpuppi was alleged to have defrauded 1,926,400 people from different parts of the world and scooped 1.6 billion Dirham, equivalent to N168 billion.

The police disclosed that Hushpuppi and his team modus operandi was to create fake pages for existing websites and redirect victims’ payments to their own accounts. The gang also specialised in hacking corporate emails and sending fake messages to clients in order to redirect financial transfers and bank details to their own accounts.

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