Abidemi Rufai, the suspended senior special assistant to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, allegedly defrauded the Washington State Department of Job Security using 10 different means, a court document obtained by The punch found.
In the document, Rufai reportedly submitted more than 100 applications to the Washington Department of Employment and also submitted additional applications to state labor agencies for other states.
The Nigerian allegedly executed the ploy using the stolen identities of American workers.
“In doing so, Rufai caused and attempted to have the Department of Job Security pay federal and other unemployment benefits in excess of $ 350,000, and fraudulently instigated other states to pay benefits. additional “, indicates part of the document.
Charges of fraud, arrest and detention of Rufai
The punch reports that Abidemi Rufai has been in detention since his arrest on May 14, 2021 at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
He was later charged with defrauding the Washington State Department of Job Security over $ 350,000.
The indictment then led to his suspension as Senior Special Assistant for Special Tasks, Abidemi Rufai.
Although he applied for bail on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, the request was denied because his brother could not pay the $ 300,000 bond.
The suspect was then detained in the Western District of Washington from where he is attending further legal proceedings.
However, the 42-year-old Nigerian had denied the criminal charges against him.
The ploy that Rufai would have manipulated
Suspended Ogun governor’s assistant allegedly attempted to defraud the US agency using a coronavirus aid, relief and economic security (CARES) law enacted on March 27, 2020 in the United States
The CARES Act authorized approximately $ 2 trillion in aid to American workers, families and businesses to mitigate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CARES Act funded and authorized each state to administer new unemployment benefits. These benefits include: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provided a benefit of $ 600 per week per unemployed person in addition to existing benefits.
Others are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which extends benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors and others; and emergency unemployment assistance in the event of a pandemic, which extends benefits for an additional 13 weeks after exhaustion of regular unemployment benefits.
CARES unemployment benefits are funded by the United States government through the Department of Labor and administered at the state level by state agencies known as labor agencies. of State Work (SWA). The Washington Employment Security Department is the SWA for Washington State.
CARES Act unemployment benefits are authorized, transferred, disbursed and paid under a national emergency declared by Presidential Proclamation 9994 (effective March 1, 2020) and a presidential declaration of major disaster for the State of Washington regarding the COVID-19 pandemic which was issued on March 22, 2020.
Among the charges against the 42-year-old Nigerian is a conspiracy.
The document stated that Rufai and other co-conspirators began their movements on or around April 27, 2020, and continued at least until or around June 2, 2020, in Olympia, Western District. from Washington and elsewhere.
“Rufai, alias Sandy Tang, along with other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury, conspired, joined together and agreed, together and among themselves, to commit the offense of wire fraud in violation of Title 18,” United States Code, Section 1343.
âThat is to say that ABIDEMI RUFAI, together with other known and unknown persons, with the intention of defrauding, knowingly devised a stratagem and an artifice to defraud and to obtain money and goods, by means of materially false and fraudulent pretexts, representations and promises. To execute and attempt to execute the fraud scheme and artifice, ABIDEMI RUFAI, as well as other known and unknown persons, knowingly transmitted and transmitted by wire in interstate and foreign commerce, writings, signs, signals , images and sounds, âadds part of the document.
Way and means
The court document revealed that 10 behaviors were part of the plot used by the suspended governor’s assistant to engage in the alleged cable fraud.
The manners and manners were listed as follows:
– RUFAI and its co-conspirators illegally obtained, possessed and shared PII of residents of Washington and other states, including their names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
– RUFAI and its co-conspirators have created email accounts, including an account administered by Google Inc., (“Google”) with the address “[emailÂ protected], with the aim of participating in fraudulent transactions while concealing their identity.
– RUFAI and its co-conspirators, using foreign and interstate wire transmissions, accessed ESD’s SAW portal, as well as similar portals from other SWAs, including the SWAs for the States of Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Whenever RUFAI or a co-conspirator accessed the Washington SAW portal, he or she caused wired transmissions terminating and originating from the State Data Center in Olympia, Washington.
– To establish the SAW accounts, RUFAI and its co-conspirators provided the [emailÂ protected] email address to ESD as the designated email address to receive activation emails. Whenever RUFAI or a co-conspirator entered this email address into the SAW system, an activation email was sent to the [emailÂ protected] email account.
– Each of these emails was sent via an interstate wired transmission originating from the State Data Center in Olympia, Washington and passing through a Google data center outside of Washington State.
– To prevent ESD and other SWAs from recognizing that the same email account was used to file multiple claims, RUFAI and its co-conspirators used dozens of variations of the email address by placing dots in different places in the email address for each complaint. For example, RUFAI opened SAW accounts and submitted complaints using the variants “[emailÂ protected], “[emailÂ protected], “
and “[emailÂ protected]”
– When routing emails to a Gmail account, Google ignores periods in the email address (for example, “[emailÂ protected]”is routed to the same account as”[emailÂ protected]”). As a result, Google sent all of these emails (and all similar “dot variations” from the same address) to [emailÂ protected] Account. By using these variant email addresses, RUFAI and its co-conspirators were able to file multiple claims using the same email account, without BSD and other SWAs detecting that they were doing so.
– In completing the requests, RUFAI and its co-conspirators ordered that some of the benefits be paid into online payment accounts, including accounts administered by the Green Dot Corporation. In other cases, RUFAI and its co-conspirators have ordered that fraudulent benefit payments be made to bank accounts controlled by people known as “money mules”, who withdrew and transferred the funds in accordance to the instructions given by RUFAI and its co-conspirators.
– RUFAI and his co-conspirators ordered the money mules to send some of the proceeds to the residence
of RUFAI’s brother in Jamaica, New York, where RUFAI was staying at the time.
– The electronic fraud that was the subject of this conspiracy occurred in connection with and involved benefit payments authorized, transmitted, transferred, disbursed and paid in connection with the major disaster and emergency declared by the President .