$450K stolen from Gold Bar’s bank accounts

GOLD BAR — Fraudsters apparently hacked into bank accounts belonging to the city of Gold Bar over the past year and stole nearly half a million dollars.

The city has recovered about $230,000 of the $450,000 taken, Mayor Joe Beavers said Monday.

City officials are working with the bank and are hopeful they’ll recover the rest soon, he said.

“We’re working diligently to chase these things down,” he said.

The case is being investigated by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office near Portland, Ore., as part of a probe into a multi-state financial fraud ring, sheriff’s Sgt. Adam Phillips said. The Special Investigations Unit there is working alongside the FBI and the IRS, in part because the case involves alleged wire fraud.

Federal investigators assigned to both Seattle and Portland offices are involved, Phillips said.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has been working with city officials to keep them informed, but is not part of the investigation, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

Gold Bar officials first became aware of the problem around November 2011, Beavers said.

At the time, someone was unsuccessfully attempting to pass fake checks made out from city accounts, he said. The city contacted law enforcement and the state Auditor’s Office.

The city closed out that bank account and opened others, but the hackers managed to get into those as well, Beavers said.

“It was a very knowledgeable group of people,” he said. “They really whacked up on us hard.”

Gold Bar has made headlines in recent months for financial problems connected to public records disputes.

The city still is developing its 2013 budget, but it has been making payroll and paying the bills, despite the added strain from the fraud, Beavers said. City officials also have taken measures to bolster Gold Bar’s online security.

At least one suspect in the fraud ring has been arrested recently on an unrelated charge, Phillips said.

The case’s lead investigator was out Monday, so additional information about the crime ring, suspects and other potential arrests wasn’t immediately available.

Earlier this year the city’s former clerk-treasurer resigned after allegedly stealing $395.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Most Read