The suspended aide of Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Abidemi Rufai who was arrested May 14, 2021, at JFK Airport in New York, has been indicted for conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
Acting U.S. Attorney, Tessa M. Gorman, said Rufai was indicted for his scheme to steal over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
Gorman added that Rufai will remain in detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle to order Rufai detained and transported to the Western District of Washington for arraignment on the indictment.
Rufai is now charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, nine counts of wire fraud, and five counts of aggravated identity theft.
The indictment alleges that Rufai used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
Other indictments include that “Rufai also filed fraudulent unemployment claims with Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Rufai used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems. By using this practice, Rufai made it appear that each claim was connected with a different email account.
Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud is punishable by up to thirty years in prison when the offense relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year sentence to run consecutive to any sentence imposed on the other counts of conviction.
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