By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
7th June 2010
New York City's Department of Education was defrauded out of more than
$644,000 by hackers who targeted an electronic bank account used to
manage petty cash expenditures, investigators said.
The DOE's small item payment process account at JPMorgan Chase was
supposed to be limited to purchases of less than $500, but an oversight
by officials allowed electronic transfers of any amount, according to
investigators who probed the theft. The crooks were able to perpetrate
the scam for more than three years because education officials didn't
bother to reconcile account statements on a regular basis.
"It is difficult to understand how the DOE accumulated years of account
statements, reflecting hundreds of thousands of public dollars spent to
pay bills, but did not review them," the report, which was written by
Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School
District, stated. "A cursory examination would have shown that the
charges were not normal school expenses."
The individual who headed the theft was Albert Attoh, who in April was
sentenced to 364 days in federal prison after pleading guilty to Bank
Larceny. He was also ordered to pay more than $275,000 in restitution
and be on probation for two years following his release.
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