Abidemi Rufai, Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties to Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, arrested in the US over alleged $350,000 employment scam, is scheduled to face a detention hearing today (Wednesday).
He was said to have used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
According to a statement by Acting United States Attorney Tessa Gorman, Rufai, who was arrested on Friday evening at JFK Airport in New York, will face a criminal charge of wire fraud “for his scheme to steal over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department.”
Embarrassed by his arrest, the Ogun State Government has promptly relieved him of his job and dissociated itself from the employment scam.
Wire fraud is punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison when it relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially-declared disaster or emergency.
Details of his arrest and alleged crime are contained in the statement from the US, titled, ‘Nigerian citizen charged with defrauding Washington State Employment Security Department of over $350,000’ by the Department’.
The statement disclosed that Rufai who allegedly disguised as ‘Sandy Tang’ made his initial appearance on Saturday in New York.
Gorman said, “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.
“This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud.”
The statement read in part, “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.
“Rufai caused 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.
“Greed is a powerful motivator. Unfortunately, the greed alleged to this defendant affects all taxpayers.”
“The FBI and our partners will not stand idly by while individuals attempt to defraud programmes meant to assist American workers and families suffering the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Donald Voiret, Special Agent in Charge FBI Seattle.
Pandemonium as Lagos motorcyclists kill policeman, destroy patrol vehicles
A Chief Superintendent of Police, Kazeem Abonde, has been killed during a clash between policemen and motorcyclists in the Ajao Estate area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the policemen were carrying out enforcement in the area on Thursday when they were resisted by the riders, who protested against the seizure of their means of livelihood.
The situation was said to have snowballed into a clash and resulted in the death of Abonde, who was reportedly hacked to death.
Our correspondent saw a photo of the bloodied remains of the policeman as he lay motionless by the roadside. The victim’s head appeared to have been smashed with some objects.
Another photo captured no fewer than 10 persons milling around a damaged patrol van inscribed with the Lagos State Police Command.
A source told our correspondent that the policemen involved in the incident were attached to the Ajao Police Station.
“Everywhere is tense; we don’t know what exactly caused the fight, but we know that there was a confrontation between motorcyclists and the policemen attached to the Ajao Police Station,” the source added.
Deji Lambo, Punch News
Police arrest, parade three suspected kidnappers of Bethel Baptist School students
Three suspected kidnappers have been arrested by the Nigeria Police in connection with the abduction of over 100 students of Bethel Baptist school in Kaduna State.
The suspects include, “Adamu Bello, Isiaku Lawal and Muazu Abubakar.”
They were paraded on Thursday by the Force Public Relations Officers, Frank Mba, at the headquarters of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The suspects dressed in military camouflage told journalists during an interview that they were among the 25 gunmen who stormed the school recently.
Abubakar, a 27-year-old suspect, said, “Twenty-five of us carried out the operation. We kidnapped 136 students and I got N100,000 share from the money.”
DAILY POST recalls that the school was invaded by armed men suspected to be bandits on July 5, 2021, while 121 students were whisked away.
Some of the abducted students have, however, regained their freedom.
BREAKING: Police arrest three kidnappers of Kaduna Baptist school students
The police have arrested three people allegedly involved in the kidnap of over 100 students of Bethel Baptist School, Kaduna.
The suspects, dressed in military camouflage, were on Thursday paraded by the Force Public Relations Officers, Frank Mba, at the headquarters of defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), in Abuja.
Names of the suspects were given as Adamu Bello, Isiaku Lawal and Muazu Abubakar.
The suspects told newsmen that 25 of them abducted the students, adding that they carried out the operation in desperate bid to get money.
“Twenty-five of us carried out the operation. We kidnapped 136 students and I got N100,000 share from the money,” 27-year-old suspect Abubakar said,
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