Alleged $350k fraud: US Court adjourns trial of Ogun Governor’s aide

Taiwo Akerele, the former Chief of Staff to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, has stated his intention to fight for the party’s ticket in the federal House of Representatives to serve the people of Akoko-Edo.

Akerele In a statement, he said he’s had the privilege of working “at close range” with key officials and that he has the vision and quality to represent his constituents.

Akerele also claimed that the development of human capital in my constituency, as well as the Nigerian state’s macroeconomic performance, will be his main priorities.

“The trial date presently scheduled for February 1, 2022, is continued to May 31, 2022, at 9:00a.m.

The pretrial conference is rescheduled for May 23, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., and the pretrial motions cutoff date is April 8, 2022.The period of delay resulting from this continuance from the current trial date of February 1, 2022, to the new trial date of May 31, 2022, is hereby excluded for speedy trial purposes under 18 USC § 3161(h)(8)(A) and (B) for purposes of computing the time limitations imposed by the Speedy Trial Act, 18 USC § 3161-3174.

”the document said  Rufai was made aware of the motion but had not objected to it, and will be filing the waiver for a speedy trial.

This is despite the initial pretrial conference set for January 24 and the trial date for February 1, 2022.The court documents described the investigation in Rufai’s case as “voluminous and complex.

Rufai, who served as the Deputy Director-General of the Dapo Abiodun Campaign Organisation in the last governorship election in the state, was arrested in May 2021 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, US, on a criminal complaint of wire fraud for his scheme to steal over $350,000 (about N158 million) in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department, the acting US Attorney, Tessa M. Gorman, announced.

Wanted by security personnel since 2017, Rufai was found using the alias Sandy Tang linked to possible unemployment programs fraud in Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana,  Federal investigators identified Rufai through a single Gmail account which he used to file 102 claims for unemployment benefits, using stolen personal identities of real Washington residents.

He made his initial appearance in court on Saturday, May 15, 2021, in New York.

He faces up to 30 years in jail for wire fraud “in connection to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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