GovGuam loses $267,000 due to cyber fraud 

333
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero wrote that she is deeply troubled by what she describes as an incident of cyber fraud against the Guam Solid Waste Authority. (PNC photo)

A failure to follow procedures at the Guam Solid Waste Authority (GSWA) may result in the government of Guam losing $267,000.

This revelation was made by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero in a letter to GSWA board chairman Andrew Gayle dated Oct. 1, 2019.

In the letter, the governor wrote that she is deeply troubled by what she describes as an incident of cyber fraud against GSWA.

“I am informed that in June of this year, responsible personnel at GSWA received fraudulent email correspondence from a third party. It appears that this third party purported to be a regular GSWA vendor scheduled to receive electronic payments from the authority. Upon receiving this fraudulent correspondence, responsible personnel were directed to change the account number and financial institution to which payment were traditionally paid,” the governor wrote.

The change was made at the direction of GSWA, which Leon Guerrero stated was done without the standard person-to-person verification. The amount of the fraudulent transaction reported to authorities is $267,000, money that may not be recovered.

This news comes just months after the Leon Guerrero administration reiterated to the federal court that Guam could manage GSWA.

“And I know that some critics will contend that this example of fraud disproves that contention. To them I would say this: Tricare, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal office of Personnel Management, and the state departments of Revenue and Taxation for Texas and South Carolina have all been the victims of malicious cyber activities. Like each of these agencies or states, Guam will not be perfect in an imperfect world. But we will acknowledge our shortcomings, hold people responsible and implement a plan to ensure we are prepared for the future,” the governor said.

In response to the incident, the governor wants answers and has directed GSWA to do the following:

* That GSWA conduct an internal review of this incident and its existing financial controls;
* That this internal review determines which controls or personnel failed, holding all responsible parties accountable, and that a Corrective Action Plan be implemented;
* That GSWA and other autonomous agencies adopt secure email protocols and servers, protecting all relevant financial data; and
* That every employee at GSWA authorized to administer financial account undergo basic cyber fraud detection training.

##

Previous articleCharter school awarded Building E lease
Next articleGovernor moves against government corruption
Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.