HOUSTON – Galveston County officials are working with law enforcement to find where $525,000 meant for a contractor disappeared to.
The case is under investigation, but Galveston County officials believe someone possibly hacked into their email correspondence with a contractor and rerouted the money to themselves.
“If they can hack our IT and discover us, we feel like we have a very secure system here in Galveston County, they can get anybody,” said Kevin Walsh, the Galveston County treasurer.
County records show for the past year Lucas Construction has worked to repair roads damaged during Hurricane Ike in San Leon. On May 21, the county commissioner’s approved the amount of $525,282.39 to pay toward Lucas Construction Company.
Walsh said last Friday the contractor asked where the money was and initially thought it was a banking error, but on Monday they realized they were possibly scammed.
“The vendor was receiving emails that were reportedly from Galveston County, we were receiving emails reportedly from the vendor. When they brought their emails to us, they were obviously not ours, and when we showed them emails from them, it was obviously not them,” said Walsh.
He said the emails did look similar in body and had signatures at the bottom, but the emails addresses were different. Now they’re on a mission to find the money.
“We’ve had discussions with the district attorney, sheriff, county judge, I’ve contacted every county commissioner to make them aware of the situation and all are on board to try and solve the problem,” Walsh said.
He said they’ve turned over emails to the Sheriff’s Office and working with investigators to track down where the money was transferred to.
Walsh said the contractor will be paid the money and it will come from the general fund.