1 of the thousands of WA ESD fraud suspects arrested on the East Coast




The FBI and other officials say a person directly linked to the massive unemployment fraud in WA state in 2020 has been arrested.

The Employment Security Department (ESD) fraud, considered the largest in state history, is still being investigated.

During the early stages of the COVID pandemic, ESD; under the leadership of former director Suzy Levine, virtually eliminated all safety and security protocols in an attempt to speed up claims. This has led to a massive filing of bogus claims, mostly by people linked to a well-known Nigerian fraud group. More than $ 600 million has been taken, but some financial and criminal experts say the state’s estimates are too low – they’re closer to $ 800 million or more.

The man arrested is said to be Abidemi Rufai, 42, from Nigeria. It has been linked, according to officials, to at least 100 uses of stolen identities to defraud $ 350,000 from the state.

Most of the money taken, whatever the source, has been laundered. The thieves deposit the funds in one bank account, then transfer them to another, and the series of transfers is done quickly enough that the authorities who trace them find themselves in a temporary impasse.

The first account is closed after the transfer, then they have to chase the next one … where it went. It’s a financial “mole-go” game and much of the money stolen in 2020 ended up overseas.

FBI officials say $ 250 million has been recovered. According to FBI officials, Rufai has filed fraudulent claims in Washington, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana and several other states. Officials say he was caught last Friday at JFK Airport.

Authorities did not say whether he was coming or boarding an overseas flight. They said his arrest was the first of a number of apprehensions expected in the future.

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