The suspended Special Assistant to the Governor of Ogun State Nigeria Abidemi Rufai has once again been charged by the United States Department of Justice for attempting to defraud the US court trying his case with a ‘fraudulent surety scheme’. The Acting United States Attorney, Tessa Gorma, in documents filed at a U.S Courthouse, in Tacoma, Washington, on June 23, said Mr Rufai “knowingly participated in a fraudulent surety scheme to mislead the court” in a desperate bid to get a surety for the bail earlier granted him.“
Abidemi who is currently standing trial for spearheading a fraudulent email scheme that defrauded thousands of Americans of over $350,000 Dollars cumulatively was arrested May at the JFK International Airport in the United States by the FBI. The money he stole was meant for the unemployed.
A Magistrate of Eastern District of New York found that Rufai could be released on bond of $300,000 plus surety. Following his brothers (also a lawyer) refusal to stand as surety Rufai’s lawyer presented Nekpen Soyemi a Nigeria and registered nurse. She was later exposed as a suspect in an investigation into an email impersonation scheme. Her husband, Idris Soyemi, is also said to have been convicted for wire fraud in 2014.
On May 25, four days after he was arraigned before the court Abidemi Rufai was recorded telling his brother to look for a person to stand as surety for a $300,000 bail bond earlier granted him by a magistrate court. The U.S government obtained another court order suspending the magistrate’s release order before Rufai could get a surety. It became obvious that the individual presented as a suretyby Rufai was not his friend as claimed by him. In fact he (Rufai) does not even know the surety, because in the recorded phone call Rufai’s brother states “‘they found a lady to set up the bail.” Rufai reportedly asked “if the surety’s husband is in New York or Nigeria?”. The brother affirmed that the lady’s husband was in New York. In the recorded call both Rufai and his brother express concern that the surety and husband may be under pressure from her family in U.S and back home in Nigeria to withdraw from the matter due to pressure from negative publicity surrounding the case. Hence as a backup they discussed the possibility of obtaining another payed surety. Rufai is so desperate he expressed willingness to pay any amount to get another surety should the need arise. According to the recorded phone call transcript Rufai’s said
“Whoever you can get, I don’t know, do you understand? No matter how it is, I will pay the money. Do you understand? Just leave that alone. I will pay the money… The money is available. You don’t have to be afraid of that,”.
The US government believes BAbidemi Rufai deliberately participated in the alleged scheme to mislead the court. The surety have testimony claiming she knew Rufai as a friend. This led the Magistrate to grant him bail.But the government latter found out that Rufai didn’t even know the lady as he had no basic biographic information about her. Rufai also lied to the court that he had no assets except for $6,000 in the United States and $10,000 in Nigeria. But the government found out that he has assets in excess of $300,000. Thee government has presented before the court that Abidemi Rufai is disshonest and questionable character and presents an extreme flight risk. Thus bail should be vacated and his release order revoked.