01 July 2009

W.Va. Auditor Scam Suspect Arraigned

West Virginia's was not the only state government hit by an international fraud ring, but the money it unwittingly gave to the scammers is less likely to be recovered, The Associated Press reports.

Federal prosecutors provided new details in the case Tuesday while arguing for the continued jailing of Angella Muthoni Chegge-Kraszeski, "the sole suspect so far arrested and identified in the alleged scheme," the article said.

A U.S. magistrate judge agreed, after setting the 33-year-old's trial for Aug. 31.

As AP reports, the scam allegedly sought to dupe officials into rerouting payments meant for businesses that provide goods and services to their state's agencies and programs.

The indictment alleges that they succeeded in West Virginia, where they tricked the auditor's office into sending them $919,000 due a vendor.

Prosecutors alleged Tuesday that more than $3 million had been diverted as a result of the scheme, and that it had also targeted Florida, Kansas and Massachusetts.

But the money scammed elsewhere apparently did not reach Kenya, as nearly all the West Virginia funds had. Two weeks before her arrest, Chegge-Kraszeski found she could not access some of the dummy bank accounts set up to funnel defrauded money, her lawyer said.

Federal prosecutors credited the financial crimes unit of the North Carolina state Bureau of Investigation with developing the case. Their officers arrested Chegge-Kraszeski in May.

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