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Ghanaian who fled US after $10million fraud case re-arrested and jailed

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Ahmed Tourey Rufai being escorted by FBI officials

• Ahmed Rufai has been jailed four years in the United States of America

• He and four others pleaded guilty to defrauding hundreds of US citizens

• He broke bail conditions and fled to Ghana but was arrested in April

Ahmed Tourey Rufai, a US-based Ghanaian fraudster who fled the country after being granted bail has been re-arrested and extradited to the United States where he is due to serve four years in prison for committing fraud.

Official publication by the US justice system states that Tourey Rufai operated with names such as “Joe Thompson,” a/k/a “Joe Terry,” a/k/a “Rufai A Tourey,” a/k/a “Ahmed Rufai Tourey”.

The US justice system explained, Rufai had a fraud scheme known as ‘The Enterprise’ together with five other persons who combined defrauded over 100 US citizens of $10million.

Rufai who was granted bail after his arrest on January 9, 2018, on conditions which include a $150,000 bond co-signed by three individuals, surrender of all travel documents, and home detention with electronic monitoring through an ankle bracelet was handed a four-year jail term in April 2019 after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

He was due to self-surrender to prison on May 24, 2019. US authorities however noticed on May 12, 2019, that the electronic ankle bracelet had been removed and that Rufai has fled the United States to his home country, Ghana.

A warrant for his arrest was issued and subsequently published which led to him being declared wanted by Interpol.

Luck however eluded him as he was arrested by officials of the Economic and Organised Crime Office, Interpol – Ghana Police Service’s Criminal Investigative Division and National Security in April 2021.

Rufai was extradited to the United States on August 6, 2021, where he is due to serve his jail term and fulfil other conditions of his sentencing.

In addition to a prison term of four years, he was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $109,868.61 and pay restitution of $320,449.97 to victims.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “When a defendant released on bail like Tourey Ahmed Rufai cuts his ankle bracelet and flees the country, it is an affront to the victims of his crimes and the Court. Thanks to the extraordinary work of the FBI, IRS-CI, and our law enforcement partners both in the United States and in Ghana, this fugitive was apprehended in Ghana and has been returned to the United States to serve his four-year sentence.”

FBI Acting Assistant Director, Jacqueline Maguire said: “Justice will now rightfully be delivered – both to Mr. Rufai as he serves his prison sentence, and to the innocent victims from whom he stole millions of dollars. When Mr. Rufai decided to cut off his ankle bracelet and flee the United States, he did not understand the FBI’s ability to find fugitives in foreign nations through our extraordinary international law enforcement partnerships. We thank everyone involved, and especially our IRS-CI colleagues and our Ghanaian partners, in ensuring Mr. Rufai will be held accountable for his crimes.”

IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso said: “This extradition reflects that despite his best efforts, Tourey Ahmed Rufai could not outrun justice, even after two years on the run, and by fleeing to another continent. Tourey Ahmed Rufai perpetrated an elaborate scheme driven by insatiable greed and a blatant disregard for the tremendous damage inflicted on innocent victims. He will now rightfully serve out the prison term as originally handed down.”

Read the facts of the case as published by US Department of Justice below

Between 2014 and 2018, RUFAI, a Ghanaian national who was residing in the Bronx, New York, was a member of a criminal enterprise (the “Enterprise”) based in Ghana that was involved in defrauding more than 100 American businesses and individuals of more than $10 million through business email compromises and romance scams.

RUFAI and his co-conspirators received or otherwise directed the receipt of millions of dollars in fraud proceeds from victims of the Enterprise in bank accounts that they controlled in the Bronx, New York. Some of these bank accounts were opened using fake names, stolen identities, or shell companies in order to avoid detection and hide the true identities of the members of the Enterprise controlling those accounts. Once the defendants received the fraud proceeds in bank accounts under their control, the defendants withdrew, transported, and laundered those fraud proceeds to other members of the Enterprise, including those located in Ghana.

RUFAI was released on bail shortly after his arrest on January 9, 2018, on conditions including a $150,000 bond co-signed by three individuals, surrender of all travel documents, and home detention with electronic monitoring through an ankle bracelet. At his sentencing on April 12, 2019, RUFAI was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to self-surrender to prison on May 24, 2019. Then, on May 12, 2019, 12 days prior to his surrender date, U.S. Pretrial Services learned that the defendant’s ankle bracelet had been removed and that the defendant had fled. A bench warrant was thereafter issued for the defendant’s arrest.

On April 14, 2021, after the defendant’s bond was forfeited, the defendant was arrested in Ghana pending his extradition to the United States to serve his sentence.

RUFAI, 33, of the Bronx, New York, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on January 9, 2019. In addition to a prison term of four years, he was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $109,868.61 and pay restitution of $320,449.97 to victims.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and IRS-CI in locating RUFAI in Ghana so that he could be arrested by Ghanaian law enforcement. Ms. Strauss also thanked the FBI Legal Attaché in Accra, Ghana, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division, the U.S. Marshals Service, Ghana’s Economic and Organised Crime Office, Interpol – Ghana Police Service’s Criminal Investigative Division, Ghana National Security, and the Ministry of Justice & Attorney General’s Office of Ghana, for their assistance in the extradition of RUFAI to the United States. The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Sagar K. Ravi is in charge of the prosecution.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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