Fraud Ring Theft of $10.3M from Chester Upland SD Thwarted
County and state officials worked together to recapture $10.3 million in state aid intended for the Chester Upland School District stolen by an international fraud ring, writes Max Bennett for patch.com.
The elaborate scheme utilized hacked email accounts, a romance scam, and cryptocurrency, according to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity.
In February 2021, an $8.5 million payment request from the Pennsylvania Department of Education was flagged by a banking partner of the state treasurer’s office as potentially fraudulent.
Several other payment requests from the PDE had already been paid to an account that was thought to belong to Chester Upland School District.
A hacker had accessed a CUSD email account to change the bank account so PDE funds went to the new account instead of the school district.
A Florida resident, a victim of a romance scam, was directed by a fictitious online love interest to distribute the misdirected funds to other individuals through overseas bank transfers and cryptocurrency purchases, according to Delaware County CID detectives.
“Thanks to quick action by the Treasurer’s office, this audacious attempt to steal from the school children of Chester and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth was thwarted,” said Stollsteimer.
Read more at patch.com about this international fraud ring scheme.
Here’s a brief news report on the incident from City of Chester News TV.
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