The U.S., through its Department of Justice, said the surety’s husband, Idris Soyemi, was in 2014 convicted of wire fraud, the same offence Mr Rufai is being detained for, court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES revealed.
Tessa Gorma, the acting attorney argued in the government’s filing that the latest revelation shows the surety, Nekpen Soyemi, “is not an appropriate person to perform that role.”
She added that it is dangerous to release Mr Rufai on bail.
This development is coming four days after the U.S. said Mrs Soyemi herself “is a suspect in an investigation into an email impersonation scheme.”
Mr Rufai was arrested while trying to jet out of the U.S. on May 14 for allegedly using the identities of more than 100 Washington residents to steal more than $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
His lawyer, Michael Barrows, said Mr Rufai denied “involvement in these transactions.”
When the suspect first appeared in court on May 19, he was denied bail because his brother, Alaba Rufai, who is listed in court records, could not post the $300,000 surety bond for his bail.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma, on Tuesday, gave an order that Mr Rufai should remain in detention as a result of the government’s exposé on his surety.
‘Surety’s husband a fraudster’
Ms Gorma, in her emergency motion to stay release order confirmed that the surety’s husband, Mr Soyemi, was previously convicted of wire fraud for purchasing stolen Personal Identity Information (PII) over email, and using the stolen PII to engage in credit card and bank fraud.
He was indicted at the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire, documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES revealed.
The documents revealed that Mr Soyemi utilised the e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org to perfect the fraud.
It was also shown that he pleaded guilty to his illegal activities from approximately 2009 to February 2013 after he was busted by an undercover agent located in New Hampshire.
He devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud, and for obtaining money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretences, representations, and promises, the U.S. government said in one of the documents.
It added, “Between on or about February 26 and 27, 2013, in the District of New Hampshire and elsewhere, the defendant IDRIS SOYEMI in furtherance of, and for the purpose of executing, such scheme and artifice to defraud, transmitted and caused to be transmitted in interstate commerce, from New York to New Hampshire, wire communications, including writings, signals, and sounds, specifically emails, for the purpose of executing the scheme to defraud, to the undercover agent in New Hampshire.
“He asked the undercover agent for a means of identification of another person, namely, six Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth after he provided the undercover agent with the names and addresses of six (6) individuals in the United States whose Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth he wanted.”
While the years of jail term he served is not clear, the court transcript obtained by this newspaper showed that Mr Soyemi pleaded guilty to the fraud charges ”when asked on three different occasions by the court”.
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