Senior Special Assistant to Governor Dapo Abiodu of Ogun State, Abidemi Rufai has been arrested in the United States for attempting to defraud Washington State of over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington Employment Security Department during the Covid 19 pandemic.
He was apprehended at the John Kennedy International Airport as he made an unsuccessful attempt to flee back to Nigeria.
The FBI wrote: “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,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud.”
“Greed is a powerful motivator. Unfortunately, the greed alleged to this defendant affects all taxpayers,” said Donald Voiret, Special Agent in Charge FBI Seattle. “The FBI and our partners will not stand idly by while individuals attempt to defraud programs meant to assist American workers and families suffering the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Rufai allegedly used the identities of more than one hundred Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with the ESD for pandemic related unemployment benefits. He also filed fraudulent unemployment claims with Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania. Rufai used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems. By using this practice, Rufai made it appear that each claim was connected with a different email account.