A bogus business email was used in a what authorities are calling a "frighteningly good scam" to steal more than $90,000 from an Eatontown-based company.
A 27-year-old from Lawrenceville, Georgia was charged with theft, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Investigators from the Eatontown Police Department and the county Prosecutor’s Office charged Darryl Moss with one count of second-degree theft by unlawful taking.
A joint investigation by the two law enforcement agencies began in May 2019, after Eatontown police received a complaint of a "business email compromise scam."
A "business email compromise" scam is a type of internet fraud in which an attacker impersonates another and tricks a business or governmental entity into transferring money into an account which the attacker controls.
The owner of Innovative Power Solutions leased a building in the borough and regularly completed a wire transfer to the leasing company’s bank account to pay their monthly lease payment.
However, prior to the lease payment for the month of May 2019, the owner was victimized by a business email compromise. The victim received an email, which mirrored the legitimate monthly email the business received for its lease payment, but fraudulently provided a new bank account number for a different banking institution.
The victim believed the email was legitimate and on May 2, 2019 wired the lease payments for April and May 2019 in the amount of $45,379.04 per month for a total of $90,758.08.
Shortly thereafter, the victim was informed by the leasing company its payment was past due for April and May. The leasing company informed the business owner the fraudulent email did not come from their company and they did not receive the payment.
Investigative efforts by the Eatontown Police Department and detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office analyzed the bank accounts in question and determined Moss was involved in the fraudulent acquisition and transfer of the monies.
Law enforcement officers have been able to assist the victim in recovering about $70,000 of the stolen money.
If convicted, Moss faces up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison.
"Business email compromise’ scams are increasing and they are frighteningly good scams with terrifyingly bad results," Gramiccioni said in a press statement.
“It’s important for corporations and agencies, whether in the private or public sector, to be vigilant with sending money to unknown sources or new banking institutions. You cannot take anything for granted," the prosecutor said.
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