Town of Erie Paid Over $1 Million to a Construction Scammer
The town of Erie is not starting 2020 off on the right foot.
According to The Denver Channel, the town delved out $1,016,233.80 to what they thought was SEMA Construction, Inc. for the construction of the Erie Parkway Bridge.
However, a scammer hacked into the town's website and changed SEMA's payment plan on October 21.
The fake plan insisted that the company would now receive payments electronically instead of via check.
No one verified whether or not the change in payment plan was actually orchestrated by SEMA, and the town began making payments electronically to the scammer.
Officials became aware of the scam on November 5, causing the FBI and the Erie Police Department to investigate. Police do not believe that any town employees were involved.
The town was able to pay SEMA properly, using funds from an insurance claim to send the company two physical checks.
The online form associated with the scam has been removed, and no more payments will be made electronically unless the transfer is verified.
The money given to the scammer has already been wired out of the country.
In response to the incident, the town is promoting their current risk manager to full-time status.