Somerset County officials puzzled by $11K loss in email scam

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Jun. 23—SOMERSET, Pa. — Somerset County officials are puzzling over how the county treasurer's office was scammed out of more than $11,000 earlier this month.

State police in Somerset said the loss happened when staff in the treasurer's office responded to a fraudulent email requesting a wire transfer.

The fraud took county officials by surprise.

"I'm not aware of this situation happening within the county on any prior occasion," Somerset County Solicitor Michael Barbera said on Friday. The county commissioners have referred media calls to Barbera.

"Once we learn all of the facts, we will take the appropriate measures to make sure this does not happen again," Barbera said.

State police outlined details of the scam.

The Somerset County Treasurer's Office, located at 300 North Center St., Somerset, received an email on June 8 purporting to be from Somerset County's president commissioner requesting an $11,295 wire transfer for goods and supplies to a "known company."

The wire transfer was completed that same day, troopers said.

The office received a second email on June 13 requesting an additional wire transfer of $23,470. That request was denied after it was discovered that the email address from which the requests came was fraudulent, troopers said.

Somerset County Treasurer Anthony DeLuca said he could not comment.

State police and a financial institution are handling the investigation.