Abidemi Rufai, a suspended employee of Ogun governor Dapo Abiodun, was given a five-year prison term for fraud by a US district court.
In May 2021, Rufai was detained at JFK Airport in New York while in route to Nigeria.
The US Department of Justice said in May 2022 that Rufai admitted using stolen identities to obtain thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits connected to the pandemic.
In addition, he acknowledged to obtaining personal data on more than 20,000 Americans since 2017, filing $2 million in claims for disaster assistance and other federal benefits, and receiving more than $600,000.
The Washington State Employment Security Department was the target of the largest fraud, which resulted in payments of $350,763 in false pandemic unemployment claims to accounts under Rufai's control.
In at least 17 additional states, including Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania, Rufai is also alleged to have filed false pandemic unemployment claims.
Rufai's swindle harmed real people who needed help, according to Cindy Chang, assistant US attorney, who asked for a sentence of almost six years in jail.
According to a statement by the US department of justice, 45-year-old Rufai “has agreed to pay full restitution of $604,260 to the defrauded agencies”.
“In this case, Rufai successfully used the stolen identities of at least 238 real individuals who qualified for disaster aid and may have needed it urgently. This number does not account for the number of stolen identities Rufai attempted to use but failed," Cindy Chang stated.©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.