May 5, 2022

A former Nigerian government official, Abidemi Rufai, has admitted stealing the identities of 20,000 Americans to claim $2million in disaster relief including $350,000 in COVID benefits. Rufai who is 45, pleaded guilty in US District Court in Tacoma to stealing Social Security numbers and other personal data from residents of Washington State to pocket around $600,000.

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