Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 10, 2014

Town's missing $92K may have been found

ROYALTON — While the $92,000 of town money that was stolen as part of two illicit wire transfers last month is still missing, there is a chance it will find its way back to the town.

The money may now be in an account with Bank of America, Supervisor Jennifer Bieber said at Monday night's town board meeting.

The wire transfers were made through the town's account with Key Bank and sent to two different banks. A total of $367,000 was taken from the town. The amount transferred in one transaction, $275,000, was returned four days after the early February breach. 

As for the remaining funds, there is a 30-to-60 day hold on the money, so the town should hear something in the next week or two, Bieber said. The waiting period is provided so people who attempt to pick up a wire transfer have time to prove that the money is rightfully theirs, should fraud be suspected.

"They have to give you enough time to say, 'Hey, this isn't fraud, that's my money,'" she said. "It's a legality type issue to wait that time frame."

While hopeful, Bieber said that she's not convinced the money is in the Bank of America account.

"They don't know if it's sitting there or not," she said. "They think it's there. No one has said for sure that those funds are there."

The town is moving its money from Key Bank to the Bank of Castile, Bieber said, something the town was already planning to do before the wire transfer issue erupted.

"The courts are still keeping their accounts with Key Bank," she said, "but we're almost done getting all of our money over there."

The town has taken several steps to try and prevent a similar attack from happening again, including hiring a new computer group from Medina to oversee the town's computers, Bieber said. The town also purchased insurance to cover wire fraud.

Key Bank offered to "settle the matter for $1,500," Councilman James Budde said, noting that the town was not interested in settling the matter for less than the full amount stolen.

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