Feeds

Crooks siphon $644,000 from school district's bank account

Unlimited e-transfers made simple

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

According to the report, Attoh provided the account and routing information to others so they could use it to pay student loans and invoices for purchases at Home Depot and other retail outlets. In return, Attoh demanded cash payments. Because DOE officials failed to block the use of electronic transfers, the account was wide open. All that was required what the account number and the bank routing number.

The scheme started in October 2003 and only came to the attention of officials in February 2007 when Chase received a tip that someone was trying to pay bills using the DOE account. In all, $644,313.69 was stolen, but $128,228.49 was eventually recovered. A PDF of the report is here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.