Former Aide to the Ogun State Governor, Abidemi Rufai has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft through which he accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars from pandemic-related unemployment relief funds. 

Driving the news 
Abidemi Rufai reportedly stole the personal information of over 20,000 Americans in order to claim the reward of over $2 million for federally funded relief programs. Rufai was allegedly able to claim more than $600,000 of such funds, with the Washington State Employment Security Department being the highest victim paying the sum of $350,763 into accounts controlled by the former Ogun State Governor’s aide. 

Abidemi Rufai filed 17 false jobless claims in different states in the US

  • He attempted to claim Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) by submitting 19 fake EIDL applications in the pandemic year of 2020, to which candidates were to receive $10,000 each. 
  • Filing 675 fake claims of tax refund in 3years, Rufai attempted to make away with $1.7 million but only earned $90,877 from the IRS.

What this means 
Although Rufai resolved to pay the hundreds of thousands he illegally earned, wire fraud relating to a presidentially declared major disaster carries a 30-year maximum sentence jail term.

Instagram celebrity Abass Ramon aka Hushpuppi and former Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, are still facing charges including wire fraud in the US. 

The big picture 
Nigeria, according to techshielder, is the leading African country with the most fraudsters, with a cumulative sum of £12.1 million. This figure is set to increase with the recent reports of Nigerians facing wire fraud in the US. 

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