June 15, 2024

In recent news, Fort Lauderdale officials have recounted the city’s recovery of more than $1 million, a sum that was fraudulently obtained last year. A news conference held on Thursday was the venue for the announcement.

Fort Lauderdale City Hall

Fort Lauderdale City Hall

CBS News Miami

The hunt for the perpetrators is still ongoing, local enforcement officials revealed.

In a significant development, Police Chief Bill Schultz announced, “Today we are here to announce that FLPD was able to entirely reclaim $1.2 million. Due to the ongoing construction of our new police headquarters, the City of Fort Lauderdale was a hot target among several municipalities.”

According to the police report, the fraudsters assumed the identity of a real city contractor, Moss Construction, and billed the city for progress on the new police department building.

“In order for us to recognize a request as valid for payment, the city needs to receive a slew of documents and completed forms,” explained Mayor Dean Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale. “This particular culprit had all of that.”

The findings of the investigation revealed that the stolen money was transferred into the accounts of unsuspecting victims involved in counterfeit online romantic engagements with the scammers.

Police officials stated that these victims of romance fraud were clueless about their implication in the scam. However, the police were able to halt the transference of funds overseas just in time.

Chief Schultz further noted, “The receiving bank flagged the transaction as possibly fraudulent and alerted the city. They located them fairly promptly, froze the funds, and managed to recover them.”

Fraudsters frequently target real estate firms, attorneys, insurance companies, yacht brokers, along with other businesses that regularly execute sizeable payments. However, there are methods to evade being deceived.

“Resist altering banking information through email and instead reach out to the known contact. Dropping emails to a familiar address instead of a chain and carefully scrutinizing the email domain are some precautionary measures,” Schultz warned.

“We’re glad to learn that the City of Fort Lauderdale has retrieved the money lost in this attempted scam. Our company Moss had no part to play in the scam. Our systems remained safe and uncompromised throughout. We extended our full support to the city authorities and law enforcement to unravel the case. It’s evident from the facts that scammers exploited our commendable reputation and standard information available on a rudimentary internet search to perpetrate harm,” declared Moss Construction in its official response.

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