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Report: More than $1.5 million stolen from Calcasieu school board through compromised contractor emails

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 10:08 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Thieves using compromised emails of hurricane-related contractors are believed to have defrauded the Calcasieu Parish School Board out of more than $1.5 million, according to an initial report released by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office released the initial report in response to a public records request by KPLC.

The initial report says $1,570,330.52 stolen funds were reported to the Sheriff’s Office in January by Chief Financial Officer Wilfred Bourne.

The theft was previously reported, but the amount was not.

The School Board says several hurricane-related contractors’ email accounts were compromised, resulting in wired payments in the amount of $1.57 million to a bank account created by cyber criminals.

“Greater than 50% of the funds have been recovered through actions initiated by the Calcasieu Parish School Board acting quickly upon discovery,” the school board said in a statement. “A report was immediately filed with law enforcement, and a claim has also been filed through the Calcasieu Parish School Board’s cyber insurance policy which will likely result in the recovery of an additional $250,000.”

The school board says it is is hopeful more funds will be recovered.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft.

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