Former Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to Ogun State Governor Abiodun Abidemi Rufai, has pleaded guilty to his role in a $350,763 (about N145 million) heist in the United States.

45-year-old Rufai, according to The Seattle Times, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, 3rd May, 2022, in US District Court in Tacoma to charges that he used stolen Social Security numbers and other personal data to file $350,763 in fake claims for pandemic unemployment benefits in 2020.

The medium also quoted the US Attorney’s Office in Seattle as saying that Rufai pleaded guilty to stealing benefits from other states, as well as another $250,000 from other federal programmes.

Rufai filed fraudulent claims for $1.7 million in federal tax refunds, of which $90,877 was paid out, from 2017 and 2020.

He also has agreed to repay the stolen funds, though it wasn’t clear how he would make payments or whether his agreement meant he still had access to the stolen funds.

“He has agreed to disclose all of his assets and to cooperate in US government efforts to recover on those assets.

 “At this point we don’t know what kind of recovery will result”, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson Emily Langlie said in an email Wednesday, 4th May, 2022.

Rufai has been in custody since his May 2021 arrest at New York’s Kennedy International Airport as he was about to fly to Nigeria.

Story: Asma’u Sani