Convicted fraudster extradited to U.S. from Ghana

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A convicted Bronx fraudster who was previously sentenced to four years in prison and fled to Ghana prior to surrendering to serve his sentence, was extradited to the United States earlier this month.

Tourey Ahmed Rufai, 33, of the Bronx, was involved in a fraud scheme based in Ghana involving the theft of more than $10 million through business email compromises and romance scams that targeted elderly victims from at least 2014-2018.

“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,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. “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.”

According to the investigation, between 2014-2018, Rufai a Ghanaian national who was residing in the Bronx, 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 directed the receipt of millions of dollars in fraud proceeds from victims of the Enterprise in bank accounts that they controlled in the Bronx.

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, they 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 Jan. 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, he 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, after the defendant’s bond was forfeited, he was arrested in Ghana pending his extradition to the United States to serve his sentence.

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