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How a Nigerian influencer, North Korean hacker and Canadian scammer committed fraud worldwide | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


So Abbas waited, patiently biding his time for news. But the screenshot never came. Because minutes after his plane landed, Alaumary was standing in Atlanta airport, his wrists cuffed, surrounded by Secret Service agents. The agency’s years-long waiting game had come to an end.

Ever since they’d first exposed Alaumary as the real face of Ockie back in 2017, the Secret Service had been painstakingly tracking his movements, waiting for their chance. They discovered that the Canadian was planning a birthday break at the luxurious Atlantis resort in the Bahamas at the end of 2019. It offered the perfect opportunity to capture him.

Shortly before Alaumary was due to arrive, a small Secret Service team had flown to the Bahamas. They waited nervously. Despite all the preparations, no one was quite sure how it would go down. Meanwhile, agent Glen Kessler was getting ready to fly in from Atlanta airport. He intended to ‘roll’ Alaumary; convincing him to work with the Secret Service.

On 17 October 2019 the Secret Service agents watched as Alaumary arrived at Grand Bahama International. They had set a trap for their target.

The Secret Service had tipped off the Bahamian authorities to Alaumary’s arrival, so the immigration staff would refuse him entry. He then faced two options: a night in the airport jail (the only accommodation on offer) while he waited for a flight back to Canada the next day, or a flight to the US leaving that evening. It was a gamble, but he chose the latter.

By total coincidence, that was a flight heading to Atlanta, the very same place from where Glen Kessler was waiting to depart for the Bahamas. Alaumary had inadvertently bought himself a one-way ticket straight into the hands of US law enforcement. When he landed at Atlanta, he was immediately placed in handcuffs and guided to an interview room where Kessler was waiting. The meeting did not go the way Kessler expected.

‘I showed him all the evidence linking him to a variety of international cybercrimes. I offered him the opportunity to go to work for the Secret Service immediately,’ says Kessler. ‘He leant back in his chair and said, “It’s been a very long day. I need you to put me up at the Ritz Carlton tonight in Atlanta. Then you come by at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, and you and I can discuss what’s going to happen to me and how I’m going to help you out.”’

Even in this dire situation, it seems Alaumary still felt he was the Big Boss.

But Kessler had news for him. ‘I just laughed and said, “You don’t understand. I’m about to throw you in the Atlanta City Jail with some of the worst criminals on the planet.”’

Still, Kessler persevered with his plan to roll Alaumary, giving him a laptop and setting him to work. But Alaumary had been offline for several days and Sweet had grown suspicious. He demanded Alaumary turn on his webcam to show his location. Clearly, if Alaumary revealed his incarceration it would be game over for their collaboration.

So Kessler bought furniture, pictures and plants and turned an empty office in the jail into a convincing-looking apartment for Alaumary. Every time Sweet requested webcam footage, the agents would leave the room while Alaumary gave the North Koreans a virtual tour.

Meanwhile, officers analysed Alaumary’s iPhone and discovered his collaboration with the contact he’d stored under the name ‘Hush’. Abbas was now in their sights.

In hindsight, Hushpuppi’s final Instagram post is poignant in lots of ways. ‘Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings in my life. Continue to shame those waiting for me to be shamed,’ it reads. The post also featured a photo of a white Rolls-Royce Cullinan, worth around $300,000, alongside the hashtag ‘AllMine’.

Just three days later, on 9 June 2020, Dubai police arrived at the Palazzo Versace. They were escorted up to number 1706, Abbas’s residence, by hotel staff. Appropriately enough for a man who documented much of his life online, the drama of Abbas’s arrest was all caught on camera by Dubai police and later released on YouTube. The video ends with a Fast & Furious-movie-style tracking shot of the luxury vehicles they seized – including a brand-new white Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

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