Abidemi Rufai
Abidemi Rufai

A former aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Abidemi Rufai, was sentenced to five years for what prosecutors called a “litany of scams” that took in more than $600,000 in public and private funds, including Washington unemployment benefits intended for pandemic victims.

Abidemi Rufai, 45, was sentenced on Monday in a US federal court in Tacoma for crimes ranging from $350,763 in pandemic unemployment fraud to filing bogus federal tax returns and theft of federal disaster relief money.
Prosecutors had asked for nearly six years, along with restitution of $604,260 for multiple counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for Rufai.

The sentence “sends a strong message that these foreign actors who are abroad cannot just simply hide anonymously behind keyboards and that they can be brought to justice in the United States,” said Assistant US Attorney Cindy Chang, who handles COVID fraud for the US Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

Rufai, one of the first suspects arrested in Washington’s $650 million unemployment fraud, was detained in May 2021 at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he allegedly tried to fly back to Nigeria. He had briefly served as an aide to Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun State in Nigeria, before reportedly being suspended following his arrest.



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