The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States have arrested Abidemi Rufai, a Senior Special Assistant to Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, over alleged $350,000 employment fraud.
Rufai was said to have been arrested on Friday evening at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York based on criminal complaint. He was subsequently charged with defrauding Washington State Employment Security Department of over $350,000.
According to the US Department of Justice, District of Washington, Rufai was alleged to have used the pseudonym Sandy Tang and the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with Employment Security Department for unemployment benefits last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the case, Acting US Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said: “Rufai 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.”
The criminal complaint about Rufai also revealed that he mailed some of the proceeds of his fraud to the Jamaica and New York addresses of his relatives with more than $288,000 deposits between March and August 2020.
“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 Gorman. “This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud.”