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Here we go again. For the umpteenth time in less than two years, the FBI has made a big deal of arresting a "Nigerian National" for their involvement in alleged online fraud scams mostly involving Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) schemes.

This time, it is Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, otherwise and more popularly known as Hushpuppi. Abbas described himself as a "real estate developer" on his Instagram profile on which he would regularly post photos of his cars, travels, clothes, watches, and more. He was the template for an Instagram influencer - perfect photos, expensive things, and the customary "God loves me I am blessed" captions.

Before his arrest, I didn't even know he existed. However, reading the FBI statement after he was extradited from Dubai to America to face charges, something caught my attention.

Scams and swindling have been around for as long as human beings have been around. Long before the Internet was invented people were scamming each other. It transcends race, gender, and nationality. One good example is New York in 1899. A lady named Peaches O'Day succeeded in allegedly selling the Brooklyn Bridge to a gullible man for $200. Many others followed her example and sold the same bridge to other people for more money, but of course, they couldn't own it. πŸ“· How A Countryman "Bought A Watch." An image depicting a New York City swindler trying to cheat a man from the country, 1868. Source: New York Public Library

Forget the fact that people from all manner of races, genders, and countries are involved in BEC schemes (despite the headlines blowing up only when Nigerians are mentioned), the FBI opens their statement on Hushpuppi's arrest to include the words "flaunted his extravagant lifestyle on social media." As if that was not enough, they add in another paragraph that "Abbas maintains social media accounts that frequently showed him in designer clothes, wearing expensive watches, and posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets."

It didn't stop there:

β€œThe FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas finances this opulent lifestyle through crime, and that he is one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars,” reads part of the FBI statement.

Two things stand out.

Firstly, from their statement, it appears that (I could be wrong) the FBI had a problem with Hushpuppi's opulent and extravagant lifestyle (their words, not mine). Secondly, they were policing his social media accounts and that sounds like where it all started going pear-shaped for him.

Don't get me wrong, crime is bad, and scamming people off hundreds of millions of dollars should be punished. But for the purposes of today's iAfrikan Daily Brief, I couldn't help but notice how often the FBI emphasized his lifestyle and social media. It got me thinking, maybe if he kept quiet they wouldn't have targeted him?

I don't know, what do you think?

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Nigeria's Hushpuppi handed over to the FBI

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Quote of the day

Hushpuppi is being charged with multiple allegations of computer hacking, wire fraud, and identity theft. One allegation is that he was looking to defraud an English Premier League football club off Β£100 million. (Tweet this)

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