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$24m fraud: Hushpuppi may get 20 years jail on Valentine’s Day

Court documents unsealed in July last year indicated that Hushpuppi could face up to 20 years in prison, and will need to “pay full restitution to the victim(s).”

According to the online medium Neusroom, Hushpuppi will know his fate on Valentine’s Day, after almost two years in detention in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Los Angeles in the United States.

He pleaded guilty on April 20, last year and, according to Neusroom, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed the date in an email on Tuesday, January 25, this year.

Hushpuppi, 37, is known for posting photos of his lavish lifestyle on Instagram, where he has 2.5 million followers.

Court documents filed in California said Hushpuppi’s crimes cost victims almost $24 million in total.

In one scheme, Hushpuppi attempted to steal more than $1.1 million from someone who wanted to fund a new children’s school in Qatar, the documents said.

Court records show he pleaded guilty to this charge on 20 April.

The documents state that between January 18, 2019, and June 9, 2020, Hushpuppi and others targeted multiple victims and laundered illicit funds in banks all over the world.

Hushpuppi was arrested in Dubai, where he lived, in June 2020.

In a statement, acting United States Attorney Tracy Wilkinson said Hushpuppi and others faked the financing of the school “by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website.”

They also “bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretence going after the victim was tipped off.”

Hushpuppi, who she said “played a significant role” in the scam “funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists.”

Kristi Johnson, Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI’s) Los Angeles office, said Hushpuppi was one of the “most high-profile money launderers in the world.”

His “celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organisations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad,” she said.

His guilty plea was “a crucial blow to this international network.”

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