July 28, 2021
Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abass, has finally agreed to plead guilty to the multi-million-dollar fraud charges filed against him by the United States government.
Arrested in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate (UAE) in June 2020, and subsequently extradited to the U.S. where most of the victims of his alleged fraudulent activities are based, Mr Abass has spent the last one year in custody maintaining his innocence.
However, with the commencement of his trial around the corner, Mr Abass has now made a volte-face, entering into a plea bargain agreement with the U.S. government in the hope of getting a lighter punishment.
He will now be pleading guilty to Count Two which is “Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering,” an offence that attracts a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment among other punishments including full restitution, his plea agreement with the U.S. government states in part.
PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday obtained a copy of the plea bargain agreement between him and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (USAO).
Signed by Hushpuppi, his lawyer, Louis Shapiro, and the Assistant United States Attorney, Anil Antony, on July 4, the plea agreement was filed at a U.S. Central District Court of California on Tuesday.
A date is to be fixed for Mr Abass to change his previous “not guilty” plea to “guilty” and will be followed by a sentencing hearing for the judge to determine how long he will spend in jail.
‘Earliest opportunity to plead guilty’
The next stage after the filing of the agreement is that Mr Abass will, “at the earliest opportunity” appear and plead guilty to Count Two of the Information”.
Other terms of the agreement include the defendant’s concession to “not contest facts agreed to in this agreement,” the document states.
He has also agreed to “abide by all agreements regarding sentencing contained in this agreement.”
He concedes that “all court appearances, including his change of plea hearing and sentencing hearing, may proceed by video-teleconference (VTC) or telephone, if VTC is not reasonably available, so long as such appearances are authorized by Order of the Chief Judge 20-043 or another order, rule, or statute”.
The court will conduct a sentencing hearing after Hushpuppi changes his plea from guilty to not guilty.