Feeds

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

Unlimited e-transfers made simple

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.