[funsec] Corporate Identity Theft
Joel R. Helgeson
joel at helgeson.com
Mon Oct 22 13:56:21 CDT 2007
Supervalu becomes victim of e-mail scam
Grocery chain wired $10m to phony accounts
By Associated Press | October 20, 2007
BOISE, Idaho - Supervalu
<http://boston.stockgroup.com/sn_overview.asp?symbol=SVU> , one of the
nation's largest grocers, has fallen prey to an e-mail scam, losing about
$10 million after wiring money to fraudulent bank accounts, according to
federal court filings.
The scam is detailed in a pair of forfeiture cases filed under seal this
year in US District Court for the District of Idaho.
The fraud began after the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based supermarket received two
e-mails - one from someone purporting to be an American
<http://boston.stockgroup.com/sn_overview.asp?symbol=AM> Greetings Corp.
employee and another claiming to be with Frito-Lay, according to court
documents. Both e-mails claimed the companies wanted payments sent to new
bank account numbers.
Supervalu sent more than $6.5 million to the phony American Greetings
account and nearly $3.6 million to the phony Frito-Lay account before
realizing it was all a scam. The FBI was able to capture the money before it
was whisked away by the scammers, but now American Greetings, Frito-Lay, and
Supervalu have all laid claim to the money and US District Judge B. Lynn
Winmill will decide where it should go.
"Supervalu was the target of attempted financial fraud," company spokeswoman
Haley Meyer wrote in a statement. "We were able to quickly discover and
report this to the FBI."
Supervalu declined to comment further.
Megan Ferington, a spokeswoman for American Greetings, based in Cleveland,
couldn't comment on the case because it's under litigation. The FBI did not
immediately return phone calls. Aurora Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for
Frito-Lay, said the company was "working closely with our customer,
Supervalu, and our attorneys on this matter."
American Greetings produces party goods sold in Supervalu stores. Frito-Lay,
a unit of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo
<http://boston.stockgroup.com/sn_overview.asp?symbol=PEP> Inc., makes
several foods sold by the grocery chain.
According to documents filed in the two forfeiture cases, Supervalu first
began wiring payments to American Greetings into the wrong account on Feb.
28, making nine payments before catching the error on March 6. During that
time, more than $6.5 million was wired to HSBC
<http://boston.stockgroup.com/sn_overview.asp?symbol=HBC> Bank in Miami
Beach, Fla., to accounts opened under the names Society Nights Productions,
doing business as Perini
Another $500,000 was wired into the same account by another victim listed
only as "ROHM" in the court documents, and money from some foreign bank
After apparently receiving another e-mail purporting to be from Frito-Lay,
the grocer sent nearly $3.6 million in payments that were supposed to go to
Frito-Lay to a phony account in Arkansas, according to the court documents.
In an affidavit, Supervalu's vice president for legal services, Stephen
Kilgriff, said the company received that e-mail on Feb. 28, saying that
future wire transfers to the company should be sent to a First Security
<http://boston.stockgroup.com/sn_overview.asp?symbol=SBKC> Bank account in
Rogers, Ark. That fraud was also discovered on March 6, when the firm called
police, Kilgriff said.
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