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U.S Court Jails Nigerian Governor’s Aide For Fraud

Abidemi Rufai, the temporarily suspended assistant to Ogun State Governor Dayo Abiodun, has been given a five-year jail term for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft by a district court in Western Tacoma, Washington, in the United States.

The Western District of Washington US Attorney’s Office confirmed this in a statement on Monday.

The statement said in part that Rufai, “A 45-year-old resident of Lekki, Nigeria, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to five years in prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for his attempt to steal nearly $2.4m from the United States government, including approximately $500,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.”

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Until his arrest, Rufai was a Special Assistant to the Ogun State Governor.

But according to the statement, he acknowledged a history of defrauding American disaster relief programs, such as aid for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and filing false tax returns.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle stated during the sentencing hearing that the reason was greed, unbridled greed, and callousness toward people who have suffered.

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U.S. Attorney Nick Brown claims that Mr. Rufai was tenacious in his plan to commit fraud using the stolen identities of Americans.

“He orchestrated ‘mystery shopper’ scams, business email compromise attempts, and filed fake tax returns to financially harm individuals and businesses.

According to records filed in the case, since 2017, Rufai stole the personal identifying information of more than 20,000 Americans to submit more than $2m in claims for federally funded disaster relief benefits and fraudulent tax returns.

“The various agencies involved paid out more than $600,000. The largest amount of fraud was committed against the Washington State Employment Security Department, which paid out $350,763 in fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims to accounts controlled by Rufai. Rufai also submitted fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims in at least 17 other states.

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