$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.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Deena Jones gets a physical by Briana Brewer during one of her twice weekly checkups Thursday morning at UW Medicine in Seattle on September 30, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Her brother offered a kidney, and she got one, with a twist

Deena Jones’ nephew died in a random knife attack. His death could keep the Arlington pastor alive for decades.

Community Transit is preparing to shift commuter buses that go to the University of Washington in Seattle to connect with Link light rail in Northgate next year. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’

Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates.

Man injured in Marysville gas station shooting

People in two vehicles reportedly opened fire Monday morning. Detectives were seeking suspect information.

Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

The concrete wall of the tennis courts at Clark Park in Everett was painted into a bright mural by people over two weekends. (Jay Austria)
Neighbors brighten Clark Park wall in Everett

People grabbed brushes and painted the concrete tennis court wall over two… Continue reading

An emergency responder uses a line to navigate the steep slope along a Forest Service road where seven people were injured Saturday when a vehicle went off the road near the Boulder River trailhead west of Darrington. (Darrington Fire District)
7 hurt in crash off cliff west of Darrington; 1 airlfited

A vehicle crashed on a forest service road near Boulder River, leading to a major rescue operation.

The aftermath of a fire that damaged a unit at the Villas at Lakewood apartment complex in Marysville on Saturday. (Marysville Fire District)
2 families displaced by Marysville apartment fire

Nobody was injured when the fire broke out Saturday morning on 27th Avenue NE.

Kevin Gallagher (from the Snohomish County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet November 2, 2021 General Election)
Kevin Gallagher, a Marysville City Council candidate, dies

Kevin Gallagher, 52, died at home of natural causes. He was challenging incumbent Councilmember Tom King.

Clouds hover over the waters off Everett's western edge Monday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Get ready for La Niña and a soggy winter in Snohomish County

After a hot, dry summer, Washington feels like Washington again. Damp. Gray. Normal.

Most Read