Feeds

Michigan treasurer falls for Nigerian scam

'Bilks' $1.9m

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A public treasurer in the Michigan county of Alcona stands accused of embezzling tax payers out of more than $1.2m, at least part of which was used to cover costs he incurred falling for a Nigerian banking fraud.

Thomas Katona, the former Treasurer of Alcona County, was charged with nine felonies. According to the Michigan Attorney General's office, the 56-year-old beancounter, who held his post for 13 years, also plowed $72,000 of his own money into the fraud.

County officials first suspected something was amiss late last year, when bank employees informed them Katona had sent eight payments totaling $186,500 to overseas accounts, six of which were associated with peddlers of the Nigerian scheme. He stepped down in November as authorities commenced an investigation.

They found that bank employees had warned Katona that the investment was a sham, but the treasurer ignored the warnings. An audit eventually showed that more than $1.2m was missing from county coffers. It remains unclear how much of that was paid to the scammers.

Last week a judge set Katona's bail about $1m.

The sad tale reminds us of the adage, incorrectly attributed to P.T. Barnum, that there's a sucker born every minute. While the common perception is that only trailer-dwelling louts fall for the get-rich-while-you-lose-weight-in-your-sleep scams, history shows otherwise.

Other victims of the 419 scheme who should have known better are said to include a Harvard professor and Ronald Reagan's neuroscientist. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.