AOH :: ISN-3134.HTM

Hackers steal US$500, 000 (euro399,

Hackers steal US$500, 000 (euro399,
Hackers steal US$500, 000 (euro399, 

October 13, 2006

Computer hackers have exploited weaknesses in the security technology of 
a Puerto Rican bank to siphon hundreds of thousands of US dollars 
(euros) out of two U.S. Virgin Islands government accounts, a finance 
official said Thursday.

Hackers accessed the U.S. Caribbean territory's accounts with banking 
giant Banco Popular, making numerous small withdrawals for up to two 
months until government officers discovered the thefts totaling 
US$500,000 (euro399,010) in August, Finance Commissioner Bernice 
Turnbull said.

The San Juan-based bank has credited the U.S. Virgin Islands accounts 
with US$300,000 (euro239,406) and is planning to replace the rest of the 
missing money in coming days, Turnbull said. It's not clear why the 
Virgin Islands government did not disclose the theft earlier.

One of the accounts contained money earmarked for the Human Services' 
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, 
she said. The other account was a general fund.

Turnbull said federal officials had a suspect in the case but would not 

The FBI could neither confirm nor deny an investigation. Local police 
said they had not been notified about the theft.

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