FBI Helping Teton County Schools To Reclaim Lost Money To Fraud

Jan 11, 2019

Teton School District Board Chair Chris Isaacson reacts after breaking ground in August 2018, at the site of the new Driggs Elementary School. Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme welcomed guests to the groundbreaking event that day. An emotional Woolstenhulme thanked the district staff, school officials and the community for their support in working on and voting in favor of the $37 million bond that will build the school and a new Victor Elementary School as well as remodel existing schools in Teton County.
Credit Jeannette Boner / Teton Valley News

After losing more than $750,000 to an online scam, a rural eastern Idaho school district is working with federal investigators to recover portions of the money.

Late last year, the Teton County School District reported an employee had sent $784,000 to a bank account, which he thought belonged to a local construction company.

According to reporting by the Teton Valley News, it turns out the company’s email accounts had been hacked. The money sent on December 17 was routed to a fraudulent account. The error was discovered on December 20. A similar incident happened back in 2017, when the district lost $20,000.

 

Since reporting the fraud, the FBI has made headway in the case and successfully recovered around $500,000, which the district report it received Thursday, January 10. This is a relief for the district, because unlike in 2017, the district’s insurance was not likely to cover the entire amount that was stolen.

 

After the incident came to light, the district’s business manager, who sent the funds, has resigned. An investigation by the local sheriff’s office and the FBI is ongoing. It’s unclear whether the investigation will recover the rest of the money or if the school’s insurance will cover the shortfall.

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