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.
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