Suspended Senior Special Assistant to Ogun State Govenor, Abidemi Rufai faces up to 30 years in prison

The suspended Senior Special Assistant to the Ogun State Governor, Abidemi Rufai, faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of wire fraud.

According to the United States Department of Justice, wire fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison when it relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The acting US Attorney, Tessa M. Gorman, announced that Abidemi Rufai, who served as the Deputy Director-General of the Dapo Abiodun Campaign Organisation in the last governorship election in the state, was arrested on Friday, 14th of May, 2021, at the JFK Airport in New York, the United States of America, on a criminal complaint of wire fraud for his scheme to steal over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Abidemi Rufai, aka Sandy Tang, 42, of Lekki, Lagos, made his first appearance in court on Saturday,  15th of May, 2021, in New York. He is scheduled for a detention hearing on Wednesday, 19th of May, 2021.

“Since the first fraud reports to our office in April 2020, we have worked diligently with a federal law enforcement team to track down the criminals, who stole funds designated for pandemic relief. This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of the ESD fraud,” Attorney Gorman said.

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

He was alleged to have also filed fraudulent unemployment claims with Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania, and used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems which he allegedly made it appear that each claim was connected with a different email account.

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