Valley News – Online thieves embezzle $ 2.3 million from city of Peterborough in NH
Posted: 08/24/2021 21:55:40 PM
Modified: 08/24/2021 21:55:41
CONCORD – The US Secret Service is investigating the theft of $ 2.3 million in the city of Peterborough by foreign thieves using fake email addresses.
City officials said on Monday that the investigation began on July 26 when they learned that the ConVal school district had not received its monthly transfer of $ 1.2 million from the city.
On August 18, they realized that an additional $ 1.2 million intended for a general contractor working on a bridge construction project had been similarly misappropriated.
“It hurts us to inform the residents and taxpayers of Peterborough that, like so many other cities, we have been the victims of an internet crime that has defrauded our taxpayers,” said the chairman of the board. of Select, Tyler Ward and city administrator, Nicole MacStay. A declaration.
Officials said investigators identified email exchanges between the city’s finance department staff and thieves posing as school district staff using forged documents and email accounts. Bank transfers intended for the construction contractor were diverted by similar means, and the investigation showed that the email exchanges originated from abroad.
“These criminals were very sophisticated and took advantage of the transparent nature of the public sector’s work to identify the most valuable transactions and focus their actions on hijacking those transfers,” said Ward and MacStay.
Money cannot be recovered by reversing transactions, and officials are not yet sure whether the losses will be covered by insurance.
In the meantime, the city has sought help from the governor’s office and the state congressional delegation.
US Senator Maggie Hassan, chair of the Monitoring Committee on Emerging Threats and Speeches, said her office would support Peterborough in its investigation into what she called a “devastating attack”.
Hassan held a roundtable on Monday with officials from other New Hampshire communities who have similarly been victimized, and the infrastructure package that was recently passed by the Senate includes a billion dollar grant program. dollars she offered to improve cybersecurity at the national and local levels.
“We know that cybercriminals are smart, savvy, and able to identify and attack our weak spots – and we need to make sure our state and local governments are ready,” Hassan said in a statement.