Abidemi Rufai, the suspended Senior Special Assistant to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, allegedly boycotted the United States data system using 10 different emails in 14 days.
According to Punch, a document obtained from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington showed that Abidemi’s action allegedly violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.
“The Grand Jury further alleges that each of these violations occurred in relation to, and involved, benefit payments authorized, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, and paid in connection with a presidentially declared major disaster and emergency,” part of the document read.
Abidemi Rufai has been in US custody since his arrest on May 14, 2021, at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.
He was subsequently charged with defrauding Washington State Employment Security Department of over $350,000.
The indictment has led to his suspension as a Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties to the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun.
Though he applied for bail on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, the application was denied, as his brother could not afford the $300,000 “surety bond.”
The suspect is detained at the Western District of Washington, from where he is attending further court proceedings.
However, the 42-year-old Nigerian had denied the criminal charges filed against him.
According to the court documents, the suspended Ogun governor’s aide allegedly attempted to defraud the US agency using a Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act enacted on March 27, 2020.
A timeline of the execution of the alleged fraud showed that Abidemi reportedly activated the first e-mail address for the wire transmission on April 27, 2020.
Abidemi, who assumed the name, Sandy Tang, for the purpose of the fraud, generated variants of [email protected] to bypass the US data system for the wire transmission.
The court document also revealed the identities of at least used by Abidemi Rufai to execute the alleged wire fraud.
“On or about the dates set forth below, at Olympia, within the Western District of Washington, and elsewhere, ABIDEMI RUFAI, a/k/a Sandy Tang, knowingly transferred, possessed, and used, without lawful authority, means of identification of other persons, and did aid and abet the same, in that ABIDEMI RUFAI submitted claims to the Washington Employment Security Department using the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, of the persons with the initials listed below, during and in relation to felonies listed in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(c), to wit, conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. Each of the following offenses was committed in furtherance of, and was a foreseeable part of the conspiracy charged in Count 1 of this Indictment,” part of the document added.
The document showed that the Nigerian allegedly carried out the fraud by using the stolen identities of American workers.
“In so doing, Rufai caused and attempted to cause, the Employment Security Department to pay out federal and other unemployment benefits in excess of $350,000, and fraudulently caused other states to pay out additional benefit payments,” part of the document said.