Nigeria: FBI arrests Nigerian, Abidemi Rufai over $350,000 fraud

The US police have arrested a 42-years old Nigerian politician based in the United States of America over allegations of fraud and corruption against the Washington State Employment Security Department. Even as the country struggles to provide economic and financial assistance for its citizens to contain the deadly covid-19 virus.

The US Justice Department made the announcement today, Tuesday 18th May 2021. Stating that Abidemi Rufai stole more than $350,000, money donated by the government as covid-19 unemployment benefits for citizens. He created 100 fake identities to benefit from the assistance.

According to the Justice Department, more than $288,000 was deposited in a bank account he controlled between March and August of last year.

The suspect, an aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state, was arrested late on Friday and will have to appear before a judge this coming Wednesday, 19th, 2021.


Authorities say the suspect used different locations to carry out the act undetected by officers and was only caught when the money was channeled to his account. “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 like each claim was connected with a different email account.”

According to the Justice Department, he could be sentenced to over 30 years if found guilty. He is also being accused of having stolen from Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The 42 years old participated during the 2019 House of Representatives election. He did win and is currently the main aid of the governor of Ogun state.

This is the second Nigerian facing charges of fraud and corruption in the United States of America within this year. Nosayamen Iyalekhue, 33-year-old, is currently waiting to be sentenced on June 23, 2021, by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel for wire fraud. He had pleaded guilty in court.

Concerning the Iyalekhue case, the US Justice Department published that. 

“Nosayamen Iyalekhue, 33, was sentenced by the U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In November 2019, Iyalekhue pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Iyalekhue was arrested in June 2020 along with a co-defendant, Esogie Osawaru, 27, who pleaded guilty in November 2020.”  

“Iyalekhue and Osawaru participated in a series of romance, pandemic unemployment insurance, and other online scams designed to defraud victims by convincing them to send money to accounts controlled by the defendants. To carry out the scams, the defendants used false foreign passports in the names of others, but with their own photos, to open numerous bank accounts, and in turn directed the victims to send money to these accounts. Iyalekhue and Osawaru then quickly withdrew the victims’ money from various bank branches and ATMs, often multiple times during a single day. The schemes included collecting unemployment insurance in the name of others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osawaru is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24, 2021.”

The Nigerian government has not yet reacted based on the allegations that involved one of their own.

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