California Man Stole Millions; Pleads Guilty To Email Compromise Scheme

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A 44 year old California man pled guilty to a business email compromise (BEC) scheme stealing more than $3 million from Norwest maritime construction firms.

According to the court documents, in 2018 the 44 year old Inglewood resident and his co-conspirator sent a malicious link to an email address of an employee at an engine-building company. This link allowed the California man and his accomplice to successfully hack into the email system of a Washington state engine-building company eventually gaining access to the company’s email system and review various emails including invoices. Posing as a billing executive at the engine manufacturing company, the 44 year old and his co-conspirator sent an invoice to a boat-building company with instructions to wire payment to an account belonging to a co-conspirator located at a specific Pennsylvania Bank. The fraudulent emails indicated that the engine-building company was in the midst of an audit and that said audit necessitated the funds being directed to a different bank than the engine-building company had used previously.

In the plea agreement, the California resident agreed to forfeit any remaining funds and pay restitution. Both wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

To read the full article click here.

Prevent This From Happening To YOU!

Using fraud prevention best practices and processes for BEC can help protect your company and reduce the risk of loss. Below are a few quick tips which may help in protecting yourself and your business from business email compromise:

  • Provide training for employees to help recognize business email compromise and/or phishing schemes.
  • Have your company create intrusion detection system rules that will flag emails with extensions that are similar to company email.
  • Provide security by requiring additional two-factor authentication for payment verification.
  • Report and delete unsolicited email from an unknown party.
  • Always make a callback to a known employee at a vendor when payment instructions are changed.

To learn more about protection yourself click here.

Make Sure Your Clients Take a Proactive Approach To Protecting Their Business Should a Loss Occur

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Michael Beranek
Berkley Crime

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Matt McNamara 
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Financial Institution Product Leader
Patricia Logan
(212) 497-3708
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West Regional Manager
George Pierce
(917) 747-1141
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