By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer
Federal prosecutors have charged 28 individuals for allegedly stealing $1.7 million from U.S. trucking companies by hacking accounts owned by money wiring providers, including Comdata and Fleet One.
On March 6 in Cleveland, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach and acting special agent of Homeland Security Investigations William Hayes announced a 97-count indictment that followed a two-year investigation, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release.
“Criminal enterprises are constantly coming up with new ways to rip off companies, consumers and customers,” Dettelbach said, according to the release. “This group tried to turn truck stops into their own personal ATMs. We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to stamp out these schemes.”
According to ICE, the scheme involved the defendants and other “known and unknown” individuals who obtained account numbers and codes of individual trucking companies for accounts held with electronic fund processing companies, including Fleet One, Comdata and TCH. The private account information was obtained without the knowledge of the trucking companies, ICE said in the release.
The wire accounts are used by trucking companies to forward checks to drivers at truck stops for diesel and other expenses.
Between February 2011 and November 2012, defendants and others sent the account numbers and codes by text or phone call to defendants, who later arrived at truck stops and posed as truck drivers. Those defendants used truck stop customer service employees to request checks from the electronic fund processing companies. The defendants then endorsed and cashed checks at the truck stop, garnering more than $1.7 million in the process.
To read Land Line’s previous coverage of Comdata accounts being hacked, click here.