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Officials: Texas county falls victim to $525K scam

June 6, 2018

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A Southeast Texas county appears to be the victim of a $525,000 email scam after government funds meant for road repairs were sent to a wrong account, officials said.

Galveston County Treasurer Kevin Walsh said the scam was discovered Monday after county officials reviewed email correspondence with a Houston construction company scheduled to repair roads in San Leon.

Walsh told The Galveston County Daily News that county officials paid the money to a new account after receiving a request to do so from an unknown entity pretending to be the Houston firm, Lucas Construction. The emails and account belonged to a scammer, he said.

At the same time the county was depositing money into the wrong account, Lucas Construction received messages from a fake county email saying that the check was on its way, according to Walsh.

The county didn’t detect the deposit error until the construction company asked why it was taking so long to receive payment, he said.

“Originally, we thought it was just a mistake that the bank made, that they were just holding the money,” Walsh said. “Monday morning we were reading through the emails and we said, ‘That’s not us.’”

The county contacted the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and the district attorney’s office Monday, Walsh said.

County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said the sheriff’s office is investigating the incident.

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Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com

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