A federal magistrate in New York has ruled against granting bail before the trial of Abidemi Rufai, a senior special assistant to Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun.
Now suspended by the state government, Mr Rufai is accused of $350,000 employment fraud in the United States.
The 42-year-old was arrested last Friday evening on his way back to Nigeria at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York based on criminal complaint.
Rufai made his initial appearance last Saturday in New York and he appeared for a detention hearing on Wednesday.
The Nigerian on Wednesday asked a federal court to release him to the custody of his brother Alaba Rufai who is an attorney in New York, according to federal prosecutors and Abidemi Rufai’s private attorney, Michael Barrows of Garden City, New York.
But Rufai’s brother Alaba told the court Wednesday morning that he could not afford the $300,000 surety bond that he would have been required to post to ensure that the accused appeared for his trial, said federal prosecutors and Barrows.
Magistrate Judge Reyes consequently ordered Rufai to be detained and taken to the Western District of Washington, according to Seattle Times.
Also, a spokesperson for the US attorney’s office in Seattle said, “We’re pleased that the defendant is being detained and will be transported to the Western District of Washington for future court proceedings.”
Rufai was alleged to have used the pseudonym Sandy Tang and the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with Employment Security Department for unemployment benefits last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The criminal complaint also said Rufai mailed some of the proceeds of his fraud to the Jamaica and New York addresses of his relatives with more than $288,000 deposits between March and August 2020.