Thu | Feb 27, 2020

3 employees suspended in $4M Puerto Rico online scam

Published:Friday | February 14, 2020 | 12:25 PM
In this July 29, 2015 file photo, the Puerto Rican flag flies in front of Puerto Rico's Capitol as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s government said Friday that it suspended three employees as federal agents investigate an online scam that attempted to steal more than $4 million from the United States territory.

Manuel Laboy, executive director of Puerto Rico’s Industrial Development Company, said rigorous procedures were not followed when the agency received an email alleging a change in banking accounts that prompted someone to transfer more than $2.6 million to a fraudulent account in the US mainland last month.

“We do not take this lightly, and there are consequences,” he said.

Laboy declined to share the names and positions of those suspended, saying only that it was one employee from his agency and two from Puerto Rico’s Commerce and Export Company, which sent $63,000 as part of the scam.

He added that the FBI has been able to freeze the money sent, which involves public pension funds.

“This situation did not affect and will not affect pension payments to retirees,” he said.

The scam also targeted Puerto Rico’s Tourism Company, which sent $1.5 million, police have said.

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