Nigerian politician, Abidemi Rufai admits guilt of coronavirus fund fraud, pledges restitution to defrauded agencies

The former Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Abidemi Rufai who was alleged to be involved in coronavirus fund fraud, Abidemi Rufai was said to have admit guilt to the crime and  has agreed to pay full restitution to the defrauded agencies in United States of America(USA)

Penpushing reports that, the 45 years old Rufai until his arrest was said to have  pleaded guilty in District Court in Tacoma, United States of America(USA)  to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The source from the court said he admitted using stolen identities to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic-related unemployment benefits, while it is recalled that he has been in detention since he was arrested on May, 2021 at JFK Airport, New York.

Penpushing further reports that, source said Rufai unlawfully obtained the personal identifying information for more than 20,000 Americans to submit more than $2 million in claims for federally funded benefits under a variety of relief programs.

The source added that, the various agencies involved paid out more than $600,000, explaining that the largest amount of fraud was committed against the Washington State Employment Security Department which paid out $350,763 in fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims to accounts controlled by Rufai.

Penpushing also reports that, the former aide of the Governor equally defrauded the Small Business Administration (SBA) by attempting to obtain Economic Injury Disaster loans (EIDL) tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between April 8, 2020, and June 26, 2020, he submitted 19 fraudulent EIDL applications. SBA paid out $10,000 based on the applications.

The politician said to have been showing interest to contest in the 2023 general election in Ogun State, before his arrest, in same vein, between 2017 and 2020, attempted to obtain more than $1.7 million in IRS tax refunds by submitting 675 false claims.

Penpushing reports that, the court documents against him revealed that, the IRS paid out $90,877 on these claims, as sourced added that, his move  to enrich himself with false disaster claims did not start with coronavirus.

The prosecutor said Rufai in September and October 2017, submitted 49 disaster relief claims connected to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and filed $24,500 in false claims and was paid on 13 claims totaling $6,500.

Penpushing further reports that, following the development, prosecutors have agreed to recommend at least 71 months in prison, and this would be determine on August 15, 2022 by the court

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