FACT CHECK: Raymond ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas Not Released from US!

VERDICT: False

CLAIM:

On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a screenshot showing that Ramon Olorunwa Abbas popularly known as Hushpuppi was released from the United States Federal Bureau of prisons.

The screenshots which went viral on WhatsApp and social media platform suggested that Hushpuppi who is facing charges for alleged online fraudulent activities had regained his freedom. 

The report further published by news blogs including GH Gossip, Instablog and many others.

FACT:

An investigation by fact-checkers at the CDD showed that contrary to the widespread claim online, Hushpuppi has not been released.

The suspected internet fraudster was only transferred from the US FBI prisons to another unnamed facility.

The image shared was screenshot from the website of the FBI facility showed that Abbas, an inmate with BOP Register Number 54313424 was released on July 20, 2020.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the release, Hushpuppi’s lawyer, Gal Pissetzky, said he (Abbas) was only moved from the FBI prison to another facility in California to commene his trial.

Premium Times reports that Pissetzky said: “These reports are not true. He has not been released. The Bureau of prisons website shows that he was released simply because he is being transferred now to California.”

The California-based lawyer also told journalists on Wednesday, July 22, that he is still serving as Abbas’ representative.

He said: “He has not been ‘released’ and I am still his lawyer, he is on his way to California. Not everything you see on court documents is accurate. 

“Just because the jail record says released does not mean he has been released he is being transferred to California,” Pissetzky added.

Earlier in July, the Dubai police alleged that the 37-year-old Abbas and his gang allegedly defrauded 1,926,400 people from different parts of the world.

Charges against him shows that he stole about 1.6 billion dirhams (N168 billion) from his victim.

He was initially taken to Chicago court and was denied bail before the case was transferred to California. 

The matter is being handled by the federal bureau of investigation (FBI), which took over the case from the Dubai police.

CONCLUSION:

The claim that Hushpuppi has regained his freedom is false. The suspected internet fraudster was only transferred from FBI prison to another facility in California.

CDD urges the general public to desist from sharing false news without verifying them.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica.

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation