A United States Federal Judge has ruled that Abidemi Rufai, the suspended Ogun State government official arrested last month will remain in jail until his trial.
This was disclosed by U.S. District Judge, Benjamin Settle of Tacoma, as agreed with federal prosecutors that Rufai represented a flight risk and reversed an earlier order granting him pretrial release.
Rufai was arrested in May, in connection with Washington state’s $650 million unemployment fraud.
The ruling came few days after another Nigerian citizen was charged with a role in the same fraud.
What you should know about Rufai
Rufai, 42, of Lekki, Nigeria, was arrested on May 14 at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport as he prepared to fly first class to Nigeria by way of Amsterdam, according to federal law enforcement officials.
Rufai was charged after allegedly stealing more than $350,000 in jobless benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department last year and trying to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of nearly $1.6 million. Before his arrest, Rufai served as a senior special assistant on housing to the governor of Ogun State, Nigeria, but he has since been suspended.
On May 21, a federal judge in New York ruled that Rufai could be released before trial on a $300,000 “surety” bond, but delayed the release to let federal prosecutors appeal, according to Nairametrics.
What the FBI is saying
“A Nigerian citizen was arrested Friday evening at JFK Airport in New York on a criminal complaint charging him with wire fraud for his scheme to steal over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department,” announced Acting U.S Attorney, Tessa M. Gorman.