U.S. district court for the western district of Washington has ordered the forfeiture of $604,260, proceeds of wire fraud by Bidemi Rufai, suspended special assistant to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun.
“The defendant’s interest in the above-identified sum of money is fully and finally forfeited, in its entirety, to the United States,” stated the forfeiture document dated August 17.
“In order to satisfy this sum of money, in whole or in part, the United States may move to amend this order, at any time, to include substitute property having a value not to exceed this sum of money,” the forfeiture order signed by U.S. district judge Benjamin Settle stated.
Having pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud for his involvement in the massive COVID-19-related fraud on the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD), Mr Rufai entered a plea agreement with the American government to obtain a favourable judgment.
The Ogun governor’s aide was apprehended in May by U.S. security officials at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in an attempt to flee the country to Nigeria via Amsterdam.
Had Mr Rufai successfully fled to Nigeria, the U.S. government might have had trouble extraditing him to answer for his crimes. Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorma, in a letter to Ramon Reyes, the Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of New York, expressed fear that the APC regime might frustrate his extradition process if he was granted bail.
Mr Rufai’s chances of obtaining bail further slimmed after he presented a questionable surety, Nekpen Soyemi, a nurse once suspected of a business email compromise scam by the Bank of America.
He was accused of using the identities of over 100 Washington residents to fraudulently receive more than $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department during the COVID-19 pandemic.