US asks court to seize $600,000 belonging to former aide to Ogun State governor

The United State Government has asked a District Court in Tacoma to order the forfeiture of Abidemi Rufai’s $604,260 being the interest that accrued from his commission of wire fraud.  The amount if converted to naira using the official exchange rate amounts to about 252 million naira or 392 million naira if exchanged at the parallel market otherwise known as the black market.

Who’s this Bidemi Rufai?

Mr. Rufai, until his arrest in May 2021, was a Special Assistant to Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun state.  He was arrested at the JF Kennedy Airport in New York and arraigned before a District Court in Tacoma, where he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity fraud. He also admitted to using stolen identities to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic-related unemployment benefits says Nick Brown, a U.S attorney.

Is that all he’s being accused of

According to the plea agreement, Mr. Rufai has since the year 2017, being unlawfully obtaining the personal identifying information of more than 20,000 Americans to submit more than two million dollars in claims for federally funded benefits under a variety of relief programs, thereby receiving more than $600,000 dollars from the various agencies.

Also, the court papers highlighted how he defrauded U.S citizens of various sums including Washington Employment Security Department where $350,763 was stolen; Arkansas Division of Workforce Service, $10,166 was stolen and U.S Small Business Administration where $10,000 was lost to his fraudulent activities.

On what ground does the Prosecutor wants the money seize?

However, court fillings shows that the U.S government through its lawyer, Nicholas Brown, has urged the court to accede to a forfeiture request, basing the application on the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure of the United States. 

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“The sum of these amounts is $604,260. Therefore, the United States is requesting an order of forfeiture in that amount, requesting the total proceeds defendant obtained from his wire fraud scheme” the application reads in parts.

Any clue on Sentence Proposal?

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend not more than 71 months in prison. The District Judge, Benjamin H Settle has fixed sentencing for tomorrow Monday 15 of August, 2022, which will be determined after considering the sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.