Why Hushpuppi’s account remains active, according to Instagram

Hushpuppi is currently being held in the United States for financial offences bordering on wire fraud to which he has pleaded guilty and faces a 20-year jail term if convicted.

The United States Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California says that Hushpuppi will be sentenced in late October 2021.

The court’s Director of Media Relations, Thom Mrozek, disclosed this in an emailed enquiry recently.

The court also confirmed that it ordered the FBI to arrest Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly perpetrated by Hushpuppi and five others.  “A U.S. Magistrate Judge has issued arrest warrants for the defendants in the case, including Mr. Kyari. This is standard operating procedure in nearly all of the criminal cases filed by this office.

In a document signed by Hushpuppi; his lawyer, Loius Shapiro; and Acting United States Attorney, Tracy Wilkison, among others, Hushpuppi had pleaded guilty to money laundering and internet fraud-related charges.

As reported by the UAE-based The National, though Hushpuppi lived a life of luxury in Dubai based on the proceeds of crime, his crimes do not violate social media laws and, therefore, his Instagram account may not be closed.

The National quoted the social media service as saying that it had well-established processes with law enforcement and a policy on “inmate takedown requests” in place for prisoners active on social media.

And, though Abbas has not posted on Instagram to his 2.5 million followers since June 2020, his followers recently opted to mark his 39th birthday on September 4 — ahead of the October 11 date.

Instagram’s global team told The National that Hushpuppi would be free to continue to use hs social media handle “unless directed otherwise from law enforcement in the US, where he is awaiting sentencing.”

Abbas does not fall under the categories which would validate account removal, the medium added. Instagram said accounts are only usually closed if they represent dangerous organisations or individuals.

“Despite pleading guilty to his crimes as revealed in court documents from April 2021, Abbas is yet to be imprisoned, so his account does not breach Instagram policies or community standards,” the medium stated.

The Dubai Police said it discovered that fraud amounting to 1.6 billion Dirham (N168bn) had been committed by the gang.

No fewer than 1,926,400 people from different parts of the world were also said to have fallen victims to the suspects.

According to the Dubai police, 13 luxury cars, estimated at 35 million Dirham (N3.7bn) were recovered from the house where they were arrested. The Dubai Police later handed Abbas and his conspirators over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in the United States where Hushpuppi and his gang are facing charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, among others.

Abbas used Instagram to show his largesse, sharing photos of extravagant shopping trips, luxury cars, clothes and watches. An international Police investigation uncovered almost $41m in cash and 13 cars valued at about $6.8m.

Further evidence in phone and computer records contained more than 100,000 fraudulent files and the email addresses of nearly two million possible victims. Abbas owned a fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maybach.

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