Nearly Identical to $200k Scam Committed Earlier in the Week, says State Auditor
The city of Albuquerque has been defrauded out of $400,000 in a scam that had has hit at least one other government agency in New Mexico, state Auditor Tim Keller said Thursday.
“The City complied with a fraudulent request to change vendor payment information that diverted at least $400,000 in public funds to a scammer,” Keller’s office said. “The OSA sent out the fraud alert earlier this week after an almost identical scam resulted in the loss of over $200,000 in construction funds for a project at the San Antonio Elementary School in Socorro.”
The Albuquerque scam occurred on March 21, and the city notified Keller’s office of it on Wednesday, according to records provided by Keller’s office.
“Unfortunately, the City of Albuquerque was hit by a scam that cost it over $400,000 in taxpayer dollars,” Keller said. “This is now the second entity in New Mexico that we are aware of that was tricked into diverting money to imposters posing as legitimate businesses. We want to again remind all governments to use the best practices we’ve outlined to prevent this.”
Keller spokeswoman Justine Freeman said the scam involved a construction project. The scammer sent the city a notice to change billing information from the real vendor to a fake one, Freeman said.