The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, sitting at Tacoma, on Tuesday, ordered that Abidemi Rufai should remain in custody.
Rufai, who is an aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, is currently enmeshed in $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud in the United States.
His bail application was denied following a move by the government for “a stay of the release order.”
The United States District Judge, Benjamin Settle, granted the government’s motion to stay release of Rufai.
“The release order is stayed, and the defendant shall remain in custody pending this Court’s decision on the government’s motion for review,” the judge said.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) had earlier raised an alarm that the surety provided by Rufai is a suspected fraudster.
The DOJ said the surety provided, a nurse identified as Nekpen Soyemi, is a suspected fraudster and should not be allowed to stand surety for Rufai.
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.
Rufai was arrested while trying to board a plane at John F. Kennedy, in US, on May 14, after 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.
Rufai has since been suspended by Governor Abiodun.
His lawyer, Michael Barrow, said Rufai denied “involvement in these transactions.”