It took only one email from scammers to get the Rock Island County auditor’s office to wire $97,000 to a fraudulent bank account.
Six weeks later, an additional payment of $18,000 was wired, bilking the county out of some $106,103 before the account was frozen with $9,000 still in it.
Emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Dispatch/Argus and Quad-City Times show how easy it was for criminals to steal money from the county by simply asking for the funds to be wired.
Someone alleging to be a legitimate contractor with whom the county does business duped the auditor’s office into wiring the money to a “new bank account” June 1. The theft of funds by wire fraud was caught by the county’s financial institution, which notified officials. The Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the theft July 28.
On the morning of June 1, an email from someone impersonating the “controller” of a Rock…