Electronic deductions from City of Manteca municipal coffers over the last week have totaled more than $11,000 with seven hits in what was described as “a straight up bank fraud,” according to Police Chief Dave Bricker.
Bricker said his department has identified a possible suspect who is believed to have copied bank routing numbers off of a city check to create the rerouting of the funds.
Officers said the deductions from the city account were used to pay bills such as one for Verizon and two others involving automotive repair businesses. They were all relatively small amounts starting with the first for $176.
But then one came through for about $10,000 that raised a red flag in the finance department and prompted contact with Bank of America.
Detective Steve Harris said that a number of the electronic transactions involved individuals with all of them going through the city accounts at the Manteca bank.
Harris explained that the complete investigation was going to involve obtaining search warrants to be able to get into bank files and into those of any suspects who may have been involved in making the fraudulent movement of funds.
Bricker noted that the illegal routing of city funds was reversed with the monies going back to the city. The bank is taking the losses, he added, rather than the city.
In Oakdale earlier this month high-tech criminals used a computer virus to steal $118,000 from a city bank account there, city officials reported. The Oakdale loss is entirely different than Manteca’s, Bricker said, as it involved no hacking just low-tech fraud.
Oakdale municipal staffers had learned about the theft on Sept. 6, but federal authorities had asked them not to go public immediately to safeguard the investigation. Oakdale’s insurance carrier said it would reimburse the city for the loss less a $2,500 deductible.