US court postpones Rufai’s trial till 2022, cites complexity and unusualness

A US court sitting in the Western District of Washington has granted an application for the trial postponement of Abidemi Rufai until February 1, 2022, citing the ‘unusual and complex’ nature of the $350,000 fraud case against the defendant, according to new court documents seen by PremiumTimes.

Rufai’s trial was to hold on August 31, but the presiding Judge Benjamin Settle said it would be unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for trial within the time limits, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.

“The COURT FINDS that the ends of justice will best be served by a continuance and outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial…the failure to grant such a continuance in this case would likely result in a miscarriage of justice because the government and the defendant would be denied the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation,” the judge said.

He said pretrial motions “shall be filed no later than December 9, 2021, and fixed pretrial conference for January 24, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.”

The ICIR previously reported that Rufai was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, as well as nine counts of wire fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft.



    The indictment, which is contained in approximately 97,000 pages of material, alleges that Rufai used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with the Employment Security Department (ESD) for pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

    The defendant allegedly caused the fraud proceeds to be paid out to online payment accounts such as ‘Green Dot’ accounts, or wired to bank accounts controlled by money mules, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

    Some of the proceeds were allegedly mailed to the Jamaica, New York address of Rufai’s brother. Rufai was residing at his brother’s home during part of the period of the fraud.

    If found guilty, Rufai could face up to 30 years in prison.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement


    - Advertisement