Abbas was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in June 2019 and extradited to the United States last month. He pleaded guilty in October 2020 to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Wright ordered Abbas to forfeit more than $168 million – which represents the proceeds of his criminal conduct – as well as 13 luxury watches and five luxury cars, including a Rolls-Royce Wraith with a starting price of about $330,000.
According to Abbas’ plea agreement, he participated in a scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other cybercrime schemes, including a $14.7 million school fee payment fraud. A BEC fraud occurs when a defendant compromises legitimate business email accounts through hacking or spoofing and then uses those accounts – appearing as the rightful owner of the account – to send fraudulent emails requesting transfers of funds to bank accounts that he controlled. The fraudulent transfers are typically made before the victim realizes that their email account has been compromised.
Between 2015 and his arrest in June 2019, Abbas conspired with others to launder funds totaling more than $100 million stolen from victims around the world through BEC frauds and other cybercrime schemes, often using hundreds or even thousands of fake bank and other financial accounts that he controlled around the world.
Abbas admitted that he opened fake accounts at various financial institutions around the world using fraudulent identification documents. He also admitted that he used those bank accounts to receive and launder money stolen from victims of cybercrime schemes. If you have been the victim of a similar scheme, you should contact an experienced attorney who can help you recover your losses.