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Feds: Unemployment fraud suspect tried to bilk IRS of $1.6M

Fraud Optical glass
Fraud Optical glass
Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 4:21 PM CDT
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TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a suspended Nigerian government official accused of stealing $350,000 from Washington state as part of a massive pandemic-related fraud also sought to bilk the Internal Revenue Service of nearly $1.6 million.

Abidemi Rufai was arrested May 14 as he tried to travel from New York to Nigeria.

He is accused of using stolen identities to take more than $350,000 as Washington tried to rush unemployment benefits out during the pandemic.

Prosecutors said Friday an email account associated with Rufai was used to file 652 fraudulent tax returns, seeking $1.6 million in refunds, from 2016 to 2019.

An attorney for Rufai declined to comment to The Seattle Times.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.