Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas, an indicted internet fraudster, has retained the services of prominent attorney John Iweanoge to reduce the 11-year prison term recommended by American prosecutors.
Mr. Iweanoge is a well regarded criminal defense lawyer in the District of Columbia, particularly among Nigerian suspects who have been arrested and charged in the neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland.
Peoples Gazette obtained a pro hac vice application Mr. Abbas submitted with the United States District Court for the Central District of California, in which he listed Mr. Iweanoge as his counsel.
Defendant Ramon Olorunwa Abbas filed a “APPLICATION of Non-Resident Attorney John O. Iweanoge, II to Appear Pro Hac Vice on behalf of Defendant Ramon Olorunwa Abbas (Pro Hac Vice Fee – $500 Fee Paid, Receipt No. ACACDC-33979986). Order for Pro Hac Vice Admission (Khouri, Michael) (Proposed Order G-64 attached)
An attorney who is not licensed to practice in the relevant jurisdiction can be brought in to represent their client through a pro hac vice application. Legal representation for Mr. Abbas can now be provided by Mr. Iweanoge, whose law offices are located in Washington, DC, without his having to engage in the unlicensed practice of law.
Mr. Iweanoge fought for the fraudster Obinwanne ‘Invictus’ Okeke of Nigeria, who is currently behind bars. Mr. Okeke was given a 10-year term for his role in a $11 million computer infiltration fraud scheme.
The hearing to determine Mr. Abbas’s sentence is scheduled for September 21. According to Thursday’s Gazette, Mr. Abbas’s attorney Louis Shapiro and U.S. officials argued in court about whether or not Mr. Abbas’s sentencing should be postponed until November.
Mr. Shapiro claimed that Mr. Abbas lacked access to the Juma Case files, making it impossible for him to prepare for his sentencing hearing. As part of a plea agreement, the FBI dropped all charges in the Juma case.
Prosecutors led by Khaldoun Shobaki maintained there was no need to “further prolong the already long-delayed sentencing in this case,” especially because Mr. Abbas admitted leading players in the conspiracy when he pleaded guilty on April 20, 2021.
Mr. Shobaki had requested that Mr. Abbas be given a sentence of 11 years in jail, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for his role in a global conspiracy that netted him millions of dollars in 2019 and 2020.
Mr. Shobaki recommended that Mr. Abbas be fined $500,000, ordered to pay restitution of $1.7 million, and charged $100 in administrative costs before he was sentenced.
Judge Otis D. Wright denied Mr. Abbas’s requests for release on humanitarian grounds because they did not follow the applicable court regulations.
Since his arrest in Dubai and extradition to the United States in June 2020, Mr. Abbas has been detained in a U.S. prison.