With the release this morning from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Sedgwick County is now able to share additional information about the fraudulent activity that resulted in the theft of $566,088.90 from the organization. As the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted in the news release, a Georgia man was arrested yesterday and charged with this cyber crime.
“We have collaborated closely with law enforcement and are grateful for the work of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, which, along with the assistance of the FBI, so diligently investigated this crime,” said County Manager Mike Scholes. “Through this cooperation, excellent investigations, and careful control of the release of information, law enforcement was able to make an arrest.”
Timeline of events
Sept. 23, 2016 – Sedgwick County receives a request to change banking information for Cornejo & Sons, LLC. It is completed using an old ACH form, purportedly signed by Ronald Cornejo, and sent via email to Sedgwick County Finance.
Sept. 30, 2016 – Sedgwick County Finance receives request for payment for Public Works Project
Oct. 6, 2016 – Payment issued via ACH to new bank account number
Oct. 7, 2016 – Payment received in new account
Oct. 25, 2016 – Sedgwick County Accounts Payable receives inquiry from Cornejo as to status of payment
Oct. 25, 2016 – Finance Department filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office noting that the payment had not reached the intended recipient.
Oct. 26, 2016 – Cornejo paid by checked for the amount lost in the fraudulent transaction.
Jan. 23, 2017 – Suspect arrested.
To date -- $22,471.41 has been recovered. Sedgwick County continues to pursue all avenues of potential recovery.
“Our organization has taken necessary efforts to protect against cyber crimes in today’s highly complex digital world, including tightening internal controls and processes within the Department of Finance,” Scholes said. “I’m proud of the work our staff has done to put these measures in place.”
Sedgwick County has taken care to update policies and procedures throughout the organization. Additionally, management has requested the organization of a vulnerabilities group which will continue to review internal policies and procedures to determine the appropriate balance of transparency and security. The County has also increased collaboration, sharing information and best practices with the City of Wichita and other similar organizations, and has retained an outside firm to conduct a forensics audit.
Any questions regarding Sedgwick County should be directed to Kate Flavin, PIO. Any questions related to the investigation or arrest should be directed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.