How Ogun governor’s aide allegedly defrauded American citizens of $350,000

THE Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has narrated how Abidemi Rufai, a Senior Special Assistant to Ogun state governor Dapo Abiodun allegedly defrauded American citizens of funds up to $350,000.

In a statement published on the FBI website on Monday, Rufai aka Sandy Tang, 42, was arrested following a criminal complaint that accused him of wire fraud through unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD).

The FBI said the criminal complaint alleges that Rufai used stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

Rufai was also accused of filing such fraud in other states in the US, including Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The allegation against him notes that Rufai used variations of a single e-mail address intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems in the US.

The governor’s aid was said to have initiated the alleged fraudulent proceeds to be paid out to online payment accounts such as ‘Green Dot’ accounts or wired to bank accounts controlled by “money mules.”

The statement also read that some of the proceeds acquired from Americans were mailed to the Jamaica, New York address of Rufai’s relative.

FBI also noted that law enforcement in the US determined that more than $288,000 was deposited into an American bank account controlled by Rufai between March and August 2020.






     

     

    “The FBI and our partners will not stand idly by while individuals attempt to defraud programs meant to assist American workers and families suffering the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Donald Voiret, Special Agent in Charge FBI Seattle.

    The Bureau noted that Wire fraud is punishable by up to thirty years in prison when it relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the charges contained in the complaint are only allegations.

    Rufai has been arrested by the FBI on Monday and is scheduled for a detention hearing Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, the Ogun state government has suspended Rufai from office over the allegations levelled against him.

     

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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