Police

BOISE — The Idaho State Controller’s Office is working with the FBI to investigate the theft of Idaho funds after a criminal or group of criminals posed as vendors to the state.

Employees of the controller’s office became aware of the fraud on Feb. 26, according to a news release from the office.

“Acting as the vendors, they were able to attack the state by navigating state procedures and changing the banking information of the vendor,” according to the release. “Regular payments made to those vendors by 20 state agencies were then diverted and stolen.”

The total amount of money diverted is less than $550,000 according to the release. The controller’s office is working with all the state departments affected and has recovered some of the funds. Any state budgets affected will be reimbursed, according to the release.

“Due to the advancing sophistication of criminal actors, the state is making proactive and ongoing revisions to its operating systems and procedure,” the release reads.

“This process will continue to add layers of security meant to prevent fraud while maintaining strong customer service standards.”

The release references a larger, national trend consisting of criminals “creating elaborate deceptions designed to target potential vulnerabilities in transactional business processes.”

Business email and account fraud schemes in the United States resulted in the loss of $1.9 billion in 2019, according to the release, which cites the information to the Wall Street Journal. Last year alone, complaints of such crimes to the FBI increased by 23,775 or 16%, according to the release.