The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (CTPR) suffered an alleged cyber fraud in December 2019 in which it was embezzled for $ 1.5 million to a fatula account, a scheme similar to that reported in the Industrial Development Company (Pridco) ).
The director of the Fraud Unit of the Bank Robbery Division, José Ayala, confirmed to The new day that the director of Finance of that corporation received an email that instructed to redirect “payments” to a new account in the United States, as happened in the fraud reported yesterday by Pridco.
According to the investigation, the hacker forged a letter in which he informed the official of the change of a bank account of the Retirement System Administration (ASR).
Thus, the official proceeded to issue the corresponding payments to the contributions for the retirement or payment of pensions without verifying the information or its origin believing that they were directed towards the new ASR account.
When the Tourism Finance Director noticed the scheme, he filed a complaint with the authorities in January.
“They are different cases, but the same scheme. They received an e-mail, and left with the unverified e-mail. They did not corroborate and made the transfer ”Ayala reiterated.
The scheme is the same as that used to embezzle Pridco, using the Retirement database as the common denominator, so Ayala did not rule out that it is the same person.
“It is the same scheme that they carried out against the Industrial Development Company and the Retirement System. They sent an email to the person who pays in Tourism. The person did the same, sent the money without corroborating, ”Ayala explained.
Basically, the Retirement System worked as a data bank for cyber pirates, Ayala said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was responsible for fraudulent transactions made in the Administration of the Retirement System, as well as Pridco and Tourism, both attached to the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC).
It should be noted that the DDEC underwent a reorganization last year and integrated dependencies such as Pridco and Tourism.
Sources of The new day They said that the situation also affected other entities such as the Highway and Transportation Authority (ACT), as well as the Development and Export Company, a dependency within the umbrella of the DDEC.
“That investigation, since we no longer have their jurisdiction because they are in US banks, we function as a cooperator with federal authorities,” he said.
According to the Secretary of Public Affairs, Osvaldo Soto, the federal and local authorities in charge of the investigation treat the situation in the ASR and the DDEC as a single investigation.