DUBAI: Dubai Police have arrested 12 cybercriminals, including Instagram celebrities “Hushpuppi” and “Woodberry,” on allegations of fraud involving 1.6 billion dirhams ($435 million).
Police said the suspects were arrested in a special operation dubbed “Fox Hunt 2” that revealed a hidden online fraud network that was committing crimes outside the UAE.
The crimes include money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonating and scamming individuals, police said Thursday.
Those arrested included Raymond Abbas — known on Instagram as “Hushpuppi” — and Olalekan Jacob Ponle, who goes by the social media name Woodbery. They were arrested with 10 other suspects on allegations of fraud involving large sums of money.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) June 25, 2020
Police said they seized more than 150 million dirhams in cash and confiscated 13 luxury cars. They released a video detailing how the arrest took place.
The gang is accused of creating websites that look identical to those of well-known companies and banks. Through these platforms, people were deceived to send emails and messages that prompted them to log in or transfer payments to the gang’s bank accounts.
Hushpuppi often posts pictures on social media with his luxury cars including a Ferrari and Rolls Royce and a private jet.
“The team has started to track the gang including Hushpuppi, who celebrated his wealth via social media platforms, under a businessman facade, in an attempt to lure victims from all over the world,” Brig. Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police, said.
“They were designing and mimicking company and bank websites to steal credit card data and illegally obtain victims’ money before laundering the cash,” he added.
Woodberry was also arrested along with 10 other men in an operation that involved six police teams.
The suspects were caught in a series of synchronized raids by six SWAT teams.
Police confiscated 13 luxury cars, valued at about 25 million dirhams, 21 computers and 47 smartphones during the raid.