Madison County hoodwinked in $2.7 million cyber scam

Madison County hoodwinked in $2.7 million cyber scam


Madison County was the victim of a $2.7 million cyber scam, the Board of Supervisors announced this morning after an executive session lasting nearly 90 minutes. 

“The Madison County Board of Supervisors was informed of a fraudulent financial cyber event Tuesday, March 19, 2024,” Board President Gerald Steen said reading from a prepared media release. “The event resulted in $2,741,243.69 in funds being sent to a fraudulent vendor who represented themself as a current vendor.”

Steen said the first thing the county did was contact law enforcement officials and the case is currently being investigated by local, state and federal authorities. 

“We’re confident that we can recover some, if not all the funds,” Sheriff Randy Tucker said. “We have confidence that moving forward we won’t have to face this again. It does stretch across the country and possibly internationally.”

According to the Sheriff’s Department incident report which was made public this afternoon, Comptroller Na’Son White sent ACH payments to someone claiming to be Jay Hemphill, the CEO of Hemphill Construction Co., the contractor currently working on the Reunion Parkway project. 

White sent three payments to the fraudster beginning on Feb. 20, 2024, in the amount of $128,989.97. A second payment for $1,073,870.66 was made on March 5, and a final payment for $1,538,383.06 was made on March 12. 

According to the incident report, the county purchasing clerk received an initial email from the fraudster, which was later forwarded to County Administrator Greg Higginbotham, before being forwarded to White. The email requested a change in the bank account for payment. 

The payments were initially cent to a Citizens Bank N.A. account. On March 11, one of the payments was returned, and White called the fraudster and was then in turn given a Bank of America bank account. 

“All invoices that the county received from Hemphill Construction Company were true, legitimate invoices sent from the actual company building the parkway phases,” the incident report reads. “The only difference she could find in the emails that the invoices came from was a ‘.com’ email address was used, whereas a ‘.us’ was used for the ACH payment form.” 

According to the incident report, the case had not been turned over to the U.S. Secret Service, but they were assisting at the time. 

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