Cyber phishing scam puts $2 million in Nassau County taxpayer money at risk

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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The Nassau County Comptroller's Office fell victim to a cyber phishing scam that put $2 million of taxpayer money at risk.

MINEOLA, New York (WABC) -- The Nassau County Comptroller's Office fell victim to a cyber phishing scam that put $2 million of taxpayer money at risk.

Officials say Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman fell victim to the scam when the Comptroller's Office transferred the funds to a fraudulent account.

The incident took place in October, when someone emailed the county, pretending to be a vendor the office used in the past.

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The email asked for a payment to a new account, which turned out to be a scam.

At the time, Schnirman claimed the amount transferred was only $710,000 and said the Comptroller's Office caught the scam.

However, after an investigation, Schnirman admitted that the Comptroller's Office did not catch the scam, but rather a bank employee who noticed the unusual activity and froze the stolen funds.

"After reading the report from the inspector general, I am deeply concerned by the comptroller's behavior, and question his ability to protect taxpayer money," Deputy Presiding Officer and Chair of the Legislature's Finance Committee Howard Kopel said. "The comptroller lied to the media, this legislature, and the residents of Nassau County in a desperate attempt to cover up his inability to properly manage money."

In total, 11 payments had been authorized between September and October of 2019, totaling just over $2 million.

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Eight of those payments, totaling $710,000, successfully went into the fraudster's account.

The money has since been recovered.

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