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Erie County loses $108,000 due to phishing scam

Construction Scams

Erie County loses $108,000 due to phishing scam

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County fell victim to a phishing scam after sending money to someone posing as a county vendor for the amount of $108,000.


What You Need To Know

  • Erie County Public Works paid a scammer $108,000
  • The scammer was posing as a legitimate contractor working on the Rath Building
  • The county has insurance on the money

According to a letter sent from Erie County Attorney Michael Siragusa to District Attorney John Flynn, the Public Works Department received an email on Aug. 2 from someone posing as Cerrone Construction, who is working on the parking garage at the Edward A. Rath Building downtown until November.

The email gave county workers new banking information that was not double-checked, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said the incident is not the direct responsibility of his office.

“You know what I can say is, unfortunately the Department of Public Works was the victim of a scam,” he said. “They were duped. Someone pretended to be this contracting company. They sent all of the paperwork to Public Works, which is normal. They sent us the paperwork for an electronic payment and we did so.”

Mark Poloncarz, who is also the former comptroller, said Mychajliw is to blame.

“This is the responsibility of the comptroller’s office,” he said. “I think the buck stops always at the top … Does he review each individual payment request? No, I will say he doesn’t, but you actually…

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