South Lanarkshire council have lost more than £100,000 after being duped by an African crime gang.
Strathclyde Police have been called in to investigate after the Council were tricked into paying £102,000 to criminals, who posed as one of their suppliers. It is understood £102,000 then had to be paid to the genuine supplier and the council was not insured against the theft as it was an external fraud.
The news comes on the same day as the council releases proposals to close or merge 27 schools in an effort to make £90m of savings over the next three years.
The local authority’s finance department received forged documents from fraudsters claiming to be a supplier who needed their bank details changed. An employee at the council’s headquarters in Hamilton then approved the new details, which allowed the money to be stolen by the West African crooks.
A South Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “We are co-operating with an ongoing national police investigation. The council is confident no member of staff is involved in the fraud.”
Graeme Horne, chairman of the council’s risk and audit scrutiny forum, said: “I asked for procedures to be tightened up and this has been done. I can tell you that a scammer, believed to be the same one, came back after that and attempted to scam us again.”