A Washington County manufacturer is the victim of a common email scam which cost the company over $190,000, according to a criminal complaint. In April 2022, an unknown suspect used a business email compromise (BEC) scam against a precision-machined plastic parts manufacturer located within Washington County. The manufacturer is not named in the federal complaint but referred to by its initials – AMI. One of AMI’s customers, referred to by the initials MI, is also involved in this case. Neither company is named because they are victims of the scam. According to the criminal complaint, from February 2022 through April 2022, an employee at MI received several emails from an employee at AMI. The employee at MI believed these emails were coming directly from AMI, but a fraudster had gained unauthorized access to the email. The fraudster had changed the email address of an employee from AMI and intercepted emails from MI. The fraudster, pretending to be the employee from AMI, sent along invoices to be paid, along with wiring instructions. The emails requested that payments for the invoices be re-routed to several different financial institutions. On April 1, the employee from MI completed a transfer in the amount of $85,109. The employee believed they were sending the funds to AMI. On April 4, another transfer was made in the amount of $40,000. Two more wire transfers were made in April, in the amounts of $40,455 and $26,999. The last two transfers were sent to an account held by Massachusetts-based Flagship Motorcars, court documents show. The company’s controller reported on April 12 that a customer named Toyin Ajayi had bought a 2018 Lexus LX570 for $67,463 – the total of the last two transfers – but the car was still on their lot. On or about April 13, AMI had not received payments from MI and contacted the company regarding overdue payments. MI informed AMI the payments had already been made. After AMI leadership checked the company’s emails, they realized that their payments were now being routed to four different banks. Since the payments were unusual, an IT representative with AMI was contacted. They found one of their employees’ emails had been compromised. Approximately $40,000 was seized from the Bank of America account held by Flagship Motorcars in June. The money was seized in Milwaukee and is in the custody of the U.S. Secret Service in Washington, D.C. According to the criminal complaint, AMI is seeking “further relief” as approved by the court, including legal fees.
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