FBI Arrests Abidemi Rufai Over Alleged $350,000 Unemployment Fraud

FBI Arrests Abidemi Rufai Over Alleged $350,000 Unemployment Fraud

Abidemi Rufai, aka Sandy Tang, a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun has been arrested in the United States over alleged $350,000 unemployment benefits fraud.

Rufai was arrested on Friday evening at JFK Airport in New York. He is scheduled for a detention hearing on Wednesday.

According to a statement, the criminal complaint alleges that Rufai used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with the Employment Security Department (ESD) for pandemic-related unemployment benefits. 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.

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Rufai made the fraud proceeds to be paid out to online payment accounts such as ‘Green Dot’ accounts, or wired to bank accounts controlled by “money mules.” Some of the proceeds were then mailed to the Jamaica, New York address of Rufai’s relative. Law enforcement determined more than $288,000 was deposited into an American bank account controlled by Rufai between March and August 2020.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to thirty years in prison when it relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rufai was appointed by Dapo Abiodun in August 2020.

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