Judge Otis D. Wright and the American judicial system have received an apology and gratitude from convicted online fraudster Ramon "Hushpuppi" Abbas, who is scheduled to be sentenced any moment from now.
Mr. Abbas expressed regret for his acts and thanked the FBI for their diligent investigation that led to his detention in Dubai and subsequent prosecution in the United States.
Mr. Abbas apologized to victims and law enforcement in a handwritten letter addressed to Mr. Wright and filed on Friday in the United States District for the Central District of California. Mr. Abbas composed the letter before sentencing, hoping to sway the court to give him a lighter sentence.
From "count one" to "count five," Mr. Abbas wrote, "I will want to apologize to the victims in the instances specifically I'm engaged with." In front of the U.S. Attorney's office, I say, "I apologize to the law enforcement agents who have fought diligently to make the world a better place and for the wonderful job of enforcing the law against criminals like myself."
People's Gazette has received a four-part letter written by Mr. Abbas in which he discusses his business's growth into "luxury apparel, real estate, automotive sales, and entertainment collaborations" since he first joined Instagram in 2012.
During a plea deal with U.S. officials in July 2021, Mr. Abbas acknowledged multimillion-dollar fraud. Numerous crimes were documented by UAE intelligence agencies to have occurred outside of the country, including money laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonation, scamming persons, banking fraud, and identity theft.
Since his arrest in Dubai in June 2020 and subsequent transfer to American custody, Mr. Abbas has been incarcerated. Mr. Abbas stated in the letter that the only money he made from his criminal activities was $300,000. During his apology to the federal magistrate, Mr. Abbas said he would reimburse the victims out of his pocket.
Mr. Abbas wrote to the judge, "Your honor, I recognize the seriousness of my offense, and no amount of sorry can write my wrong in the hearts of the victims. For this reason, I have decided to use my money to offset the entire $1,700,000 restitution, even though I only benefited a fraction of $300,000.
Prosecutor in charge, Khaldoun Shobaki, urged that in addition to $1.7 million in reparation, Mr. Abbas should be fined $500,000 and charged $100 in court costs.More to read:
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Disgraced police officer Abba Kyari was an accomplice to the murders in the Juma case, and on Friday, Mr. Wright changed his ruling and refused Mr. Abbas' demand to inspect the case files. An appeal to move the sentencing hearing from September 19 to November 3 was also turned down.
According to the Gazette, Mr. Abbas's attorney, Louis Shapiro, and federal prosecutors have been unable to reach an agreement over the anticipated delay in the trial, which would have occurred between now and Monday's sentence.
In the Juma case, Mr. Abbas and Kenyan national Abdulrahman Imraan Juma conned their victim into paying $330,000 to fund an "investor's account" to facilitate a $15 million loan, and Mr. Shapiro argued that Mr. Abbas would be unable to prepare for his sentencing hearing without all the documents relating to the Juma case.
After the government conducted its investigation into the Juma case, disgraced police officer Abba Kyari was indicted and five others for their roles in a $1.1 million fraud scheme by Mr. Abbas.
Mr. Abbas sought to reduce the 11 years in prison time recommended by prosecutors. He had previously retained the services of prominent Washington criminal defense attorney John Iweanoge, whose interstate practice application was dismissed for paperwork irregularities.