Gal Pissetzky, lawyer to Ramon Abbas (Hushpuppi), has defended him amid allegations stating that his client is not involved in fraud and money laundering.
Speaking to Forbes, Pissetzky said that he (Hushpuppi) is ‘an entrepreneur’ who made his money legitimately through ‘real estate’ and ‘promoting brands’ as a big ‘Instagram personality’.
However, the FBI’s affidavit stated that Hushpuppi “conspired to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution.” The date and amount mentioned in the affidavit matches that of the attack on Malta’s Bank of Valletta in February 2019.
The FBI affidavit equally saw Hushpuppi in a plot to defraud a New York-based law firm of approximately $922,800 through a combination of computer hacking and social engineering to gain access to a business’ email account. He is accused of laundering $396,050 of the funds alongside two co-conspirators, one of whom was in Los Angeles at the time.
Gal Pissetzky had told Forbes that his client was running a legitimate business and a very legitimate Instagram account, and did not take part in any scam or fraud.
“Absolutely not guilty of [the] charges they are accusing him of. Abbas was running a legitimate business and a very legitimate Instagram account and did not take part in any scam or fraud.
“He’s an entrepreneur. He has real estate involvement … [he’s] an Instagram personality. He was promoting brands and that’s how he was very legitimately making his money.
“Mr Abbas is friends with a lot of people. Somebody who has that many followers – obviously he knows and has friends in a lot of places … it’s all legitimate.”
Hushpuppi who is currently being held at MCC Chicago pending a bail hearing, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. A hearing in Chicago on Monday July 13, will determine if Abbas will be detained pending trial.