US court denies Abidemi Rufai bail

US court denies Abidemi Rufai bail

A federal magistrate in New York has ruled that Abidemi Rufai, a Senior Special Assistant to Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, cannot be released before his trial.

Rufai is charged for $350,000 employment fraud in Washington and was arrested on Friday evening on his way back to Nigeria at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York based on a criminal complaint.

He was subsequently charged with defrauding the Washington State Employment Security Department of over $350,000.

Rufai who appeared for a detention hearing on Wednesday, made his initial appearance last Saturday in New York.

On Wednesday, he asked a federal court to release him to the custody of his brother, Alaba Rufai, who is an attorney in New York, according to federal prosecutors and Abidemi Rufai's private attorney, Michael Barrows of Garden City, New York.

Rufai's brother, Alaba, however, told the court Wednesday morning that he could not afford the $300,000 'surety' bond that he would have been required to post to ensure that Abidemi Rufai appeared for his trial, said federal prosecutors and Barrows.

As a result, Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes ordered Abidemi Rufai to be detained and taken to the Western District of Washington, according to Seattle Times.

Also, a spokesperson for the US Attorney's Office in Seattle said:

"We're pleased that the defendant is being detained and will be transported to the Western District of Washington for future court proceedings."

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the US Department of Justice, District of Washington said Rufai used the pseudonym Sandy Tang.

According to the same report, Rufai had stolen the identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with Employment Security Department for unemployment benefits last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The criminal complaint also said Rufai mailed some of the proceeds of his fraud to the Jamaica and New York addresses of his relatives with more than $288,000 deposits between March and August 2020.

If found guilty of wire fraud, Rufai risks 30 years in prison.

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