A popular Nigerian man known as Abidemi Rufai, has been apprehended in the US in connection with a $350000 COVID19 unemployment benefit fraud. Rufai is among a Senior Special Assistant to the Ogun State Governor, Fapo Abiodun.
From a report released by the US Department of Justice, Abidemi Rufai, was nabbed at the New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport last week Friday, May 14, by special agents as he allegedly attempted to run away.
He was arranged before a US Federal court on the Saturday, May 15, on charges that indicated that he used the identities of close to 150 Washington residents to siphon more than $350,000 in unemployments benefit from Washington States Employment Security Departments in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic within last year.
"After the first fraud was reported to our office in April 2029, we have worked carefully with tge federal law enforcement team to trace criminals who steals fund which are for pandemic relief. This is the major, but will not be the end to significant arrest in our ongoing investigations of ESD fraud."Tessa Gorman, acting United States Attorney disclosed.
The US Department of Justice in its report also revealed that Rufai was able to collect the proceeds using the accounts of his family members in New York and Jamaica.
"Rufai also filed a fraudulent unemployments claim in Montana, Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. He used different email address inorder to evade automatic detection by the fraud system. He made it look like each claim was connected to a different email account.
The payment was done via either online accounts such as 'Green Dot' account, or wired to bank accounts.
Other proceeds were mailed to Rufai's relatives in Jamaica and Newyork. Law enforcement found out that over $288,000 were deposited into an American bank account handled by Rufai from March to August, 2020.
Speaking on his arrest, Donald Voiret, A special agent in charge of FBI in Seattle, mentioned "Greed is a very powerful motivato. But unfortunately, the greed alleged to the defendant affect all the taxpayers. We will not be aloof while criminals attempt to defraud programs directed towards helping American workers and families suffering the consequences of this Covid-19 pandemic."
A person can be jailed up to 30 years in prison for committing wire fraud.
Rufai is scheduled for an upcoming detention hearing Wednesday, May 19.
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