SAN JUAN (AP) — Puerto Rico’s government lost more than $2.6 million in a phishing attack, according to a senior official. The head of finance for the island’s Industrial Development Company, Rubén Rivera, said in a complaint to police Wednesday that the government agency sent the money to a fraudulent account.
Rivera said the agency transferred the funds on January 17 after receiving a fraudulent email alleging that there had been a change to a bank account linked to remittance payments, according to a statement from the police. Manuel Laboy, the agency’s executive director, told The Associated Press that authorities learned of the incident this week and immediately notified the FBI.” This is a very serious, extremely serious situation,” Laboy said. “We want to see an investigation and the latest consequences to be reached.” Laboy declined to specify how the fraud authorities found out, whether anyone was fired, or whether the loss of resources affected the operation of the company. He noted that an internal investigation is ongoing to determine whether anyone was malpracticed or skipped the required procedures, adding that the authorities are trying to recover the money.” I can’t speculate on how these things can happen,” Laboy said, referring to the harsh criticism scrimmistics from Puerto Ricans, who were stunned to learn the news. Laboy said his agency takes public resource management very seriously.
“It’s a high responsibility,” he said.
Police did not respond to calls to ask for your comments. The island, which is U.S. territory, remains mired in a recession that began 13 years ago and has forced the government to reduce some services.