The Value News

Barrows, Rufai’s Lawyer, Battles To Secure His Release From Prison Custody In US

By Lateef Adegbite

The last  may not have been heard about . Abidemi Rufai,  a former  senior  Special  Assistant to Dapo Abiodun, governor of the south west state of Ogun state on  Housing. He was  allegedly  involved in a $350 million Unemployment claims scam in the North American country of the United  States, US, between February 9, 2020 and August, 2020, during the Asian country of China emerged  coronavirus, popular, COVID 19.

  Rufai, a 42 year-old  Ogun state born politician and a former  senior Aide to the Ogun state governor  in the West African country of Nigeria  had been arrested  on Friday, May 14, 2021 and currently standing trial in the US, over allegations  that he had used  the identities of more than 100 Washington state residents  to file bogus  unemployment claims  with the Washington  Security  Department  during the peak of the COVID 19.  He was said to have denied  any involvement in the illegal transactions when he appeared in  a Federal Court  in NwYork on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Abiodun Governor Of Ogun State, Suspended Rufai From Office

The Nigerian politician appears to have  made his case worse  when he told  the US Law Enforcement Authorities during interrogation that he had only $16,000 in his foreign bank accounts as reported by Washington Seattle Times. The Washington Seattle Newspaper  had reported  that his Bank records shows that  between March 3, 2020 and  August 2020,  $288,825 was deposited from multiple source, including the  Green Dot, into his Citibank  Current Account which had contradicted the earlier information made during interrogation by the US  Police Authorities. The US Law Enforcement Authorities had even reported that additional funds  were   transferred  to the  account  of a second individual allegedly  Collaborating with him in the Washington State Unemployment claims scam.

 Many believe that Rufai may have played into the hands of the US, Law Enforcement agents because of the five debit cards and two credit cards that  were found in his wallet. This is in addition to a luxury Cartier watch, seven pieces of luggage and three smart phones that were also said to have been found  with him at the JFK International Airport, NewYork, on the Friday, that he was arrested while preparing to board a flight to Amsterdam, United Kingdom, and then take a connecting flight to Nigeria.

Michael .C. Barrows, a Lawyer, engaged  by the fraudster in the US, to fight his legal battle with the US Law Enforcement Authorities o facilitate his release from prison Custody appears determined to do so. But the Law Enforcement officers were said to be frustrating the Attorney’s efforts by insisting  that Rufai must remain in detention.  The Law Enforcement Authorities decision may have been informed by the fact that’’ the Washington state recent Audit report had shown that    he had’’ filed tens  of thousands of bogus claims  worth  $646.8 million’’ .

 Although, the Washington state Audit Deportment  had reported that  ‘’not all the  impostors bogus claims  were paid’’, as many  were stopped  by officials of the Unemployment  Department before more funds  went out, but that would not stop his prosecutors from standing on their ground that he should remain prison custody  until his trial  at the Tacoma Federal Court is Completed.

  Reports from the Washington state unemployment Department  shows  that the state government had recovered  $370million ,  from the unemployment fraudsters including Rufai, the  Nigeria born politician  and his Co-fraudsters at the peak of the peak of the COVID 19  last May, were said to have daily  filed 13,000 unemployment  Claims.    Informed  sources told The Value News that the US, Law Enforcement Authorities  have every reason to keep  the Nigerian  alleged fraudster  in their Custody because he was  arrested at the JFK International Airport, New York, when he was about to escape to his home country, Nigeria

. This may have informed why they had had maintained their ground that if Rufai should be  released on personal recognition and he escapes to Nigeria,  his extradition  will be extraordinarily difficult  or  impossible because of his ties to the Nigerian government’’.  They had said that the Nigerian present ‘’ a flight risk’’.

Barrows: Rufai’s Attorney In The US

 But  Barrows, Rufai’s Lawyer, was said to  have argued vehemently n Court that his client did not in any way   present a flight risk as alleged by his accusers  because he has given up  his international Passport to the Authorities. He had suggested that he could further be prevented  from fleeing through  ‘’less  restrictive means Including travel restrictions and electronic surveillance, than having him remain prison custody for too long.  But that was how far he could go.

An agitated Barrows noted that the US Law Enforcement Authorities have no reason to  keep his Client too long in prison Custody because   suspects   accused  of worst  financial crimes in the US, have  been saved of pretrial detention. According to him, ‘’there are white collar  criminals  such as  insider traders  who steal millions of dollars but were released from  prison custody on personal recognition, noting that Rufai’s case should not be a  different’’..

 But the US Law Enforcement Authorities, had feared that he might escape to Nigeria.  They noted

that Nigeria was’’ the fourth highest   source of internet traffic accessing Washington’s unemployment system, up from the 64th position previously’’ and therefore needed to be  put under close watch. It is not not surprising why the US Law Enforcement Authorities are taking the case of Governor Abiodun of Ogun state senior Aide very serious  as a deterrence to other Nigerian internet fraudsters .

The  Law Enforcement Authorities were said to have found out that  the Gmail account  used by Rufai’s alias  Sandy Tang , has a Nigerian-based Cellphone number that was  linked  to the Gmail account which had been traced   to his US visa Application  in 2019.  Bad news for Rufai, who may be waiting for his final conviction to serve a 30 years jail term in the US.

Recall that  Rufai, ho is currently standing trial in the US,  had been arrested sometimes last year   after the Washing state announced  the temporary suspension  of its  unemployment benefits, following the discovery  that ”fraudsters  had used stolen  Social Security numbers and other personal information to file bogus claims for Federal and state unemployment benefits’’. Other states were said to have also reported such frauds in their own unemployment Security system.          

Stephen Ubanna

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