New details have emerged about the case against Instagram influencer Ramon Abbas, who wowed the internet with pictures of his clothes, cars, money and lifestyle between 2012 and 2020. In July, Abbas was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles with conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from “business email compromise” (BEC) frauds and other scams. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice shed more light on one of those scams: working with North Korean hackers to launder funds stolen from a Maltese bank.
According to a statement released by the Justice Department, Abbas took part in a “North Korean-perpetrated cyber-enabled heist from a Maltese bank in February 2019.” In a July statement, the Justice Department referred to the attack as “a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution.” Both the date and amount match that of the attack on Malta’s Bank of Valletta in February 2019.
On Wednesday, Abbas’ name emerged among details of a larger international criminal conspiracy involving so-called North Korean military hackers involved in “a series of destructive cyberattacks, to steal and extort more than $1.3 billion of money and cryptocurrency from financial institutions and companies,” according to the Justice Department statement on the new indictment.
Abbas was linked to the North Korean conspiracy this week when federal prosecutors unsealed a charge against Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, of Ontario, Canada. Alaumary plead guilty to charges related to his role as a money launderer for the North Korean group filed in November 2020. The Justice Department connected Abbas to the North Korean hackers through Alaumary, who they allege “conspired” with “Ray Hushpuppi,” to “launder funds from a North Korean-perpetrated cyber-enabled heist from a Maltese bank in February 2019.”