The United States Department of Justice wrote to US investigating judge in the Eastern District of New York Ramon Reyes, claiming that the bond provided by Dapo Abiodun’s assistant, Abidemi Rufai, is an alleged fraudster.
Acting US Attorney Tessa Gorma, in a letter obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, said “the surety is suspect in an investigation into an email impersonation scheme.”
This journal reported how Mr. Rufai was arrested while attempting to leave the United States on May 14.
He was accused of allegedly using the identities of more than 100 Washington residents to steal over $ 350,000 in unemployment benefits of the Washington State Department of Employment Security (ESD) during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
Mr. Rufai has since been suspended by Governor Abiodun.
Last Tuesday, his lawyer, Michael Barrow, said Mr Rufai had denied “being involved in these transactions”.
His first court appearance was on Wednesday and he was deposit refused because his brother, Alaba Rufai, who appears in court records, was unable to post the $ 300,000 bond for his surety.
However, a deposit was present Friday with the court ruling that a New York state resident and family friend of Mr. Rufai could post bail.
The surety, Nekpen Soyemi, a registered nurse, whose family is from Nigeria, told the court that she would guarantee the $ 300,000 bond and allow Mr Rufai to stay with her and her husband.
However, trial judge Mr Reyes delayed Mr Rufai’s release until May 25 to give federal prosecutors enough time to appeal the order.
Mr. Rufai and a suspected fraudster as surety
Acting US prosecutor Ms Gorma said in her letter to the court that Ms Soyemi is an alleged fraudster and should not be allowed to stand surety for Mr Rufai.
“First of all, the FBI researched the surety and learned information indicating that the surety is not a suitable person to fill this role,” the letter read in part.
“In 2015, the surety’s bank (Bank of America) released a report naming the surety as a suspect in an investigation into an email impersonation scheme.
“According to the bank report, a person claiming to be a donor deposited $ 134,000 into the bank account of a legitimate nonprofit organization. The “donor” (who has never been identified) then contacted the association and declared that part of the funds deposited were intended for another beneficiary.
“The donor asked the nonprofit to transfer the excess funds to three different accounts, one of which was a Bank of America account in the name of the surety. The report says the surety then made cash withdrawals of the product at two different B of A locations. The surety did not respond to inquiries from Bank of America.
“Second, FBI research could not confirm that the surety owns the listed real estate. Mortgage and deed records for the property indicate that it was last purchased by an individual with the initials LSG on November 7, 2014. ”
She added that the FBI could not find any documents showing the surety has an interest in the property.
“The surety also submitted documents showing that she has $ 335 in a Robinhood investment account and $ 1,838 in a checking account. Neither bid suggests that the surety is able to secure a bond of $ 300,000. “
The US government earlier told the court that it is dangerous to release Mr. Rufai on bail, claiming that the suspect is at extreme risk of absconding and that “if he escapes to Nigeria, extradition will be extremely difficult or impossible due to his ties to the Nigerian government”.
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