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More Facts On How Suspended Ogun Gov’s Aide, Abidemi Rufai, Admitted He Stole $350,000 In America

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Abidemi Rufai





Fresh facts have emerged how Abidemi Rufai, the suspended aide to Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun State, admitted stealing the identities of 20,000 Americans to claim $2million in disaster relief including $350,000 in Covid benefits.

BIGPENNGR.COM reports that Rufai who was arrested in May 2021 at New York’s Kennedy airport while trying to fled the country, was arraigned at a US district court in Tacoma for alleged wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The governor’s aide who was suspended after his arrest pleaded guilty to 15-count charges which included stealing Social Security numbers and other personal data from residents of Washington state to pocket around $600,000.

It was gathered that the fraudster also pleaded guilty to stealing benefits from at least 17 other states in previous schemes and took $250,000 from federal programs.

His main target was the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) who paid out $350,763 in fraudulent pandemic claims to accounts controlled by him.

Multiple reports say Rufai, since 2017, had obtained identifying information for more than 20,000 Americans, submitted $2million in claims for disaster relief and other federal benefits, and received more than $600,000, prosecutors said.

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He tried to receive more than $1.7million in IRS tax refunds by submitting 675 false claims, from which he received $90,877.

Rufai employed a feature of Gmail, Google’s free email service, that let him use a single email account, altered by the addition of periods to the address, to file multiple unemployment claims, UK Daily Mail had reported.

Rufai exploited the Gmail’s loophole by using the altered email addresses to create multiple accounts in the system Washington uses to authenticate online users.

He then filed for the benefits using real identities of Washington residents, with any emails sent by the ESD on behalf of the claimants all routed into his inbox.

Rufai could have faced up to 32 years in prison for wire fraud related to a presidentially declared disaster and aggravated identity theft but Prosecutors agreed to recommend less than six years, Seattle U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a news release.

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Rufai also agreed to pay restitution to the agencies he defrauded, though his ability to do that remained unclear.

US Attorney’s Office spokesperson Emily Langlie said in an email Wednesday: ‘He has agreed to disclose all of his assets and to cooperate in US government efforts to recover on those assets.

‘At this point we don’t know what kind of recovery will result.’

The case against him helped illustrate how the ESD had succumbed to widespread fraud – paying out some $650million in bogus claims before recovering about $380million – as it tried to distribute benefits designed to help people financially weather the pandemic.

The rest of the $270million is believed to have been transferred abroad before the funds could be frozen.

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