Gov. Abiodun’s Fmr aide, Abidemi Rufai, bags 5-years-imprisonment for pandemic fraud in the U.S

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Abidemi Rufai, a former aide to the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has been sentenced to five years in prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for his attempt to steal nearly $2.4 million from the United States government, including approximately $500,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

The convict was wearing a $10,000 watch and $35,000 gold chain when he was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York on his way to Nigeria in May 2021, according to The Associated Press.

The 45-year-old resident of Lekki, Lagos, was sentenced on Monday, September 26, 2022, by a federal judge in Tacoma, Washington.

Rufai pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Washington, in May to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, and was slammed with 36 months for wire fraud and 24 months for aggravated identity th€ft.

Judge Benjamin Settle, who issued the sentence on Monday, also ordered Rufai to pay more than $600,000 in restitution. Adding that the sentences will run consecutively at the U.S. correctional facilities in Fort Dix, New Jersey, or the Northeastern Regional.

“The motivation was greed, unrestrained greed, and a callousness towards those who have s#ffered,” the judge said.

According to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown, “Mr. Rufai was relentless in his scheme to use the stolen identities of Americans for fraud.

He orchestrated ‘mystery shopper’ scams, business email compromise attempts, and filed fake tax returns to financially harm individuals and businesses. But when disaster struck, so did Mr. Rufai.

Whether it was hurricane disaster relief, small business loans, or COVID unemployment benefits, he stale aid that should have gone to disaster victims in the United States.”