The United States Court sitting in Illinois has given five major reasons for the continued detention of Ramon Abbas, the Nigerian Instagram celebrity accused of fraud.
Also referred to as Hushpuppi, Mr Abbas was arrested last month in Dubai for wire fraud and extradited to the U.S on July 3.
Before his arrest, the 37-year-old was resident in Dubai and known for flaunting extravagant lifestyles on social media.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged that Mr Abbas was part of a network that made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from business email compromise frauds and other scams.
He was formerly held in the Metropolitan Correction Centre in Chicago, United States but now, would be transported to Los Angeles by the U.S. Marshals Service, a court in the Northern District of Illinois ruled.
Mr Abbas, appearing at the detention hearing in July, was also denied the chance to stay with his girlfriend’s uncle in Homewood, Illinois, Forbes reported.
His trial will continue in Los Angeles where the case was first filed and not from Chicago where the investigation is being handled.
Reasons for bail denial
In a comprehensive report on the detention hearing, the court gave some reasons for the refusal to grant his bail.
The report released on Monday was based on the recommendations of the Pretrial services, which provides the court quality information about the defendants.
The court concluded that the defendant must be detained pending trial because the government has proven that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance as required.
“The court agreed with the recommendation of Pretrial Services that Mr Abbas presents a risk of non-appearance and that he should be removed to the charging district in California in custody.”
In addition to the findings made on the record at the hearing, the court cited five major factors for the detention.
The factors include the fact that Mr Abbas is subject to a lengthy period of incarceration if convicted, lacks significant community or family ties to the district, has significant family or other ties outside the United States, lacks legal status in the country and will be subjected to removal or deportation for serving any period of incarceration.
The Order says, “The court agrees with the recommendation of Pretrial Services that Mr Abbas presents a serious risk of nonappearance and that he should be removed to the charging district in California in custody. In addition, the Court finds Abbas presents a serious risk of flight to avoid this prosecution with the meaning of 18 USC 3142(f)(2). The Court stated the reasons for its ruling on the record during the removal hearing held on July 13, 2020. The additional notes contained in this Order are consistent with the reasons stated on the record and are intended to supplement rather than supplant those statements.
Mr Abbas is not a United States citizen and has no significant ties to the United States. If he is convicted of the charges, he faces deportation once he serves any custodial sentence that might be imposed. If the allegations in the complaint are true, Abbas has sufficient assets to fund flight to anywhere in the world, and he has ties to many foreign countries. Abbas reportedly rents an apartment in Dubai for $10,000 a month and drives a Bentley. He is alleged to have committed financial crimes that netted tens of millions of dollars or more.
“Although the defence proffers that Abbas is loved and respected in Dubai as a celebrity and, therefore, he would stay in the United States to fight these charges and clear his name, the inference the Court takes from Abbas’s status in Dubai is that he has every incentive to return there as soon as possible regardless of the pendency of criminal charges in the United States.
“There is no good reason for Abbas to stay in this country while these charges are pending. Abbas told Pretrial Services he has lived in Nigeria most of his life and he still has family there with whom he maintains frequent contact. During just the last few years, Abbas also says he has lived in or visited Malaysia, Dubai, and Paris, and the government proffers that Abbas recently obtained passports from St. Kits and Nevis…
“For these reasons, and those stated on the record, Abbas shall be removed to the charging district in the custody of the US Marshal.
“The defendant is remanded to the custody of the Attorney General or to the Attorney General’s representative for confinement in a corrections facility separate, to the extent practicable, from persons awaiting or serving sentences or being held in custody pending appeal. The defendant must be afforded a reasonable opportunity for private consultation with defence counsel. On order of a court of the United States or on request of an attorney for the Government, the person in charge of the corrections facility must deliver the defendant to a United States Marshal for the purpose of an appearance in connection with a court proceeding.”
Mr Abbas might spend the next twenty years in prison if convicted of the crime.