Online scammers attacked the personal email account of the wife of Florida Gov. Rick Scott on two occasions and robbed her of $350,000, the Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday.
The email account of Ann Scott was hacked in 2012 and 2014 and both incidents were connected to Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the newspaper reported.
The investigations included the Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, Google and an IP address in Nigeria, home of many email scams.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed that in 2012, scammers used a fake email address to fool Ann Scott’s accountant into sending two wire transfers worth more than $349,000 to bank accounts in Miami and Australia, the Times reported.
The scammers created a fake Gmail account by adding a third “n” to Scott’s email address. Then they emailed Scott’s accountant, Cathy Gellatly, to do the wire transfers, the Times reported.
In 2014, a second wire transfer against Ann Scott was attempted when her Gmail account was compromised, the FDLE reported. Wire transfers in the amount of $397,330 were requested, but this time Gellatly did not transfer any money, according to the Times.
Documents obtained by the newspaper showed that the FDLE investigated each case for more than a year. The agency recovered all of Scott’s money, but no one was charged with a crime in either case, the Times reported.
"In both cases, agents were not able to identify suspects based on the information developed," FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said. "The agents believe the crimes were committed by individuals outside the U.S., using techniques to conceal their identities."
"The first lady was the victim of sophisticated email phishing scams involving her personal finances that was in no way related to the state business of Florida," said McKinley Lewis, a spokesman for the Scotts. "Once these scams were discovered, FDLE was notified and properly investigated."
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