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
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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