Georgia Man Charged with Cyber Crime That Cost Sedgwick County $566,000
WICHITA, KAN. B A Georgia man has been arrested on federal charges he carried out an e-mail spoofing scheme that cost Sedgwick County $566,000, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.
George S. James, 48, Brookhaven, Ga., is charged with one count of wire fraud. An FBI agent’s affidavit alleges that investigators followed an electronic trail that led them to James after Sedgwick reported the theft of funds that were intended to pay Cornejo & Sons, LLC, for work done on a road project.
The criminal complaint alleges that on Sept 23, 2016, Sedgwick County received an e-mail purporting to be from the CEO of the Cornejo company and with a form attached requesting payments be made electronically to a new account at a Wells Fargo Bank in Georgia. Payment was made on Oct. 7, 2016, after which time the county learned that Cornejo did not receive the payment and did not send the e-mail to the county. James fraudulently received the payment through an account he held at a Georgia bank in the name of Rapid Repairs and Consultants.
The criminal complaint alleges the scheme involved providing false information over the Internet to the county’s Automated Clearing House. The fraudulent email caused the county to change the information it kept on file for the Cornejo company’s financial institution and bank account. The email request was sent from firstname.lastname@example.org to AP_invoices@sedgwick.org.
If convicted, he faces a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $25,000. The FBI, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and the Wichita Police Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger is prosecuting.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.