BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) — Boulder police are investigating a person who hacked into a homeless shelter’s email system and fraudulently obtained a payment from the city earlier in November.

According to a press release from the city, city staff neglected to follow financial security procedures and allowed the payment request to be processed.

The payment of $18,333.33 was sent to a fraudulent account.

“While the city will not comment on specific personnel matters,” stated the city’s press release, “it will take appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of staff.”

According to the city, the scammer gained unauthorized access to the email system of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and impersonated a shelter staff member. The person filed a change of bank account information request for an account used by the shelter to receive city human services funding.

When the problem was discovered, city staff attempted to reverse the payment and contacted the Boulder Police Department.

According to its press release, normal checks on the activity would have prevented the transaction from occurring.

“In 2017, the City of Boulder enhanced its financial procedures to help make financial transactions more secure. In this situation, financial procedures to verify the authenticity of the request to change bank information were not followed. The Finance Department is conducting an internal investigation related to the fraudulent activity and the failure to comply with city procedures.”

The city did not return CBS4’s questions Friday afternoon about the length of time between the payment request and the fraud’s discovery, nor about the amount of the city’s payment that may or may not be recovered.

 

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