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Local Business Scammed $126000; WCSO Recovers $122000 from the CEO Scam

Peyton LoCicero - MyPanhandle.com - 19-01-29
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CEO scam in Walton County, FL
CEO scam in Walton County, FL

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. - Months of digging and following leads brought success in the end. A local business was scammed out of more than a hundred grand but, was able to get most of it back.

The scam dates back to November 14, when an employee received an email from someone claiming to be the "CEO of the company." The email instructed the employee to wire $126,000.

"We had a business basically tell us they felt like they were being defrauded via email. The e-mail was very elaborate," explained Corey Dobridnia, Walton County Sheriff's Office, Public Information Officer.

The email included the co-owners name, exact email address and company logo. This case is among the firsts where investigators were able to retrieve a significant amount of the funds back.

"So, we feel like it's a huge success. These Nigerian style scams are getting more and more elaborate as the years go on," explained Dobridnia. "Companies need be super vigilant when they are wire transferring anything even if you think it's, you know, your CEO or you this it's a co-owner. Don't be afraid to ask questions."

Lead investigator, Chad Goleta traced the wire transfer to Valdosta, Georgia. Then dug deeper and found that the money traveled to New York and Illinios.

"(Investigator Goleta) froze all of the accounts and let the banks know right away that they were investigating," shared Dobridnia.

The FBI and Walton County Sheriff's Office say, they think this scam is a part of a larger multi-million dollar fraud scam. $122,000 were successfuly recovered but, $4,000 is still missing.

"We are keeping our fingered crossed that we can recover even more money for our victim here in Walton county but hopefully, the FBI can put some people behind bars," said Dobridnia.

The suspects that almost got away with it are still at large. If you have information or you have been a victim of a crime similar call report it to the Walton County Sheriffs office.

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