More than half of the $48,200 that Platte County recently lost from an email scam has been recovered, county commissioners say.
County Treasurer Rob Willard said Wells Fargo transferred $28,205 Monday afternoon into the county’s general fund account held at UMB.
“I am relieved at least some of the money has come back, but there is still far more to work to do,” Willard said Tuesday. “This isn’t by far the end, but I am hoping it is the beginning of the end.”
Willard said last week a fraudulent email duped him into sending a $48,000 wire transfer to a bank in Florida. He made the transfer after receiving what he thought was an email request from Presiding Commissioner Ron Schieber to pay for a state tax consultant.
However, Schieber did not make the request. Willard was spoofed as part of an internet scam that has victimized several other counties in Missouri and Kansas.
Willard said that once he realized that his office had been scammed, he contacted the county’s bank, alerted the sheriff’s office and filed a complaint with the FBI.
Investigators have not determined the source of the fraudulent emails.
The money received Monday came from the Wells Fargo fraud department. Other financial institutions and law enforcement are involved in helping the county recover the remaining funds.
“At least we have some of the money back,” Willard said. “We will work harder and harder to get the rest of the money back and make the taxpayers whole again.”
County officials questioned why Willard did not follow standard procedures that required multiple county officials to review and approve any payment request. Willard said he made a mistake but thought the request he received was time sensitive and needed to be expedited.
“We are still $20,000 short, we still have some frustration, disappointment that the process wasn’t followed, but we are making some progress,” Schieber said.