A federal magistrate in New York has rejected the bail application of Abidemi Rufai, an aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.

Mr Rufai is currently enmeshed in a $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud in the United States.

He was arraigned on Wednesday before Magistrate Ramon Reyes.

Mr Rufai’s lawyer, Michael Barrows of Garden City, New York, said the suspect’s brother, Alaba Rufai, who is listed in court records told the court Wednesday morning that he could not afford the $300,000 surety bond for his bail

As a result, Mr Reyes ruled that Mr Rufai should remain detention.

Mr Barrows told The Seattle Times that he would be “seeking alternative surety” and re-apply for Mr Rufai’s bail.

In reaction to the court’s ruling, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, applauded the decision of the court.

“We’re pleased that the defendant is being detained and will be transported to the Western District of Washington for future court proceedings,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Backstory

Mr Rufai was arrested by officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), while trying to jet out of the U.S. around 7:45 p.m. on May 14.

He allegedly used the identities of more than 100 Washington residents to steal more than $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Mr Rufai is said to have bypassed security systems at the Employment Security Department using a simple feature of Google’s free Gmail service.

His attorney, Mr Barrows, on Tuesday, said Mr Rufai denied “involvement in these transactions.”

He has been suspended from the Ogun State government by Governor Abiodun.

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