$650 Million Unemployment Fraud: Former Aide To Ogun Gov, Abidemi Rufai “Ruffy” Denied Bail

Abidemi Rufai popularly known as Ruffy’, a former aide to Ogun State Governor denied bail in US over $650 million unemployment fraud, Thecitypulsenews learnt.

Abidemi Rufai, the aide to Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun arrested last month in connection with Washington state’s $650 million unemployment fraud, will remain in jail until his trial, a federal judge ruled Friday, June 25.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle of Tacoma agreed with federal prosecutors that Rufai represented a flight risk; and reversed an earlier order granting him pretrial release.

He was arrested on May 14 at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport; as he prepared to fly first class to Nigeria by way of Amsterdam, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Rufai was charged after allegedly stealing more than $350,000 in jobless benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department last year; and also trying to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of nearly $1.6 million.

On May 21, a federal judge in New York ruled that Rufai could be released before trial on a $300,000 “surety” bond; but delayed the release to let federal prosecutors appeal.

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In his decision, Friday, Settle found that the “defendant poses a serious risk of nonappearance.”

Settle ordered that Rufai, who is in detention in New York; be transported by federal marshals to Washington for trial, which is set for Aug. 31.
Tacoma attorney Lance Hester, one of Rufai’s lawyers, said he could ask the court to reconsider Friday’s ruling; if there were changes in his circumstances.

Federal officials have called Rufai the first “significant” arrest related to Washington’s fraud. The case has shed new light on the way criminals were able to file bogus unemployment claims in dozens of states.

Friday’s ruling was the latest in a legal roller coaster ride for Rufai.

Rufai initially asked a New York federal judge to be released into the custody of his brother; who is an attorney in New York, according to federal prosecutors and Abidemi Rufai’s own attorney.

Abidemi Rufai and Dapo Abiodun

That proposal collapsed May 19 after Rufai’s brother told a court he could not afford the $300,000 surety bond required to ensure that Rufai appeared for his trial

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