Washington Co. Sheriff recovers more than $71,000 lost in “spoofing” scam; money lost after fraud email posing as County Administrator

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Jan. 5, 2017 – West Bend, WI – The Washington County Sheriff’s Office would like to provide an update to the June 23, 2016 wire fraud investigation involving county funds. The investigation centers around County Treasurer, Jane Merten, making two wire transfers of county funds in the amounts of $48,560 and$39,200, into accounts at two different financial institutions.

The investigation revealed the County Treasurer made the transfers based on a series of emails she believed to have originated from County Administrator, Joshua Schoemann. It was believed Administrator Schoemann was requesting the transfer of funds, but later determined that the Administrator’s email account was “spoofed.”

An outside party, with criminal intent to steal funds, was able to send these emails to the County Treasurer using the sender email address of Administrator Schoemann.

Although the transactions were completed, $32,163.76 was returned to Washington County on Sept. 15, 2016, through a “fraud recall” procedure conducted by Washington County’s bank.

As an update to the case, on December 21, 2016, the Sheriff’s Office was notified that an additional $39,235.89 was recovered through another “fraud recall.”

The loss to Washington County now stands at $16,360.35.

The investigation remains open with the intent to arrest those involved and seek restitution as would be done in any criminal case.

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