Nassau Republican legislators have asked Comptroller Jack Schnirman to testify at a special hearing after a phishing scam resulted in his office losing, but later recovering, $710,000 in public funds.
On Friday, Schnirman and Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder held a news conference to announce the recovery of money from a scammer pretending to be a county vendor. The comptroller's office reported the phishing scam to police Oct. 25. No arrests have been made, and police say three other municipalities, which they did not name, were also targeted by scammers.
Ryder said the comptroller's office received an email from a fake company, fabricated to resemble a county vendor and with different bank information.
The legislature's finance committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday about the "Financial and Payment Security and Controls within the Office of the Nassau County Comptroller."
Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), chair of the committee, wrote to Schnirman's office Wednesday inviting him to attend.
"It is the job of all elected officials to protect residents hard earned tax dollars paid to the county," Kopel's letter said. "It is incumbent upon this committee to ensure that the office of the comptroller has the necessary procedures in place to prevent tax dollars from being inadvertently sent to fraudulent entities; as was the case in October of 2019."
In a statement, the comptroller's office said it looked forward to briefing the Finance Committee.
"The cyber attackers were unsuccessful in their attempt to scam the County, the County lost no monies, the vendor received payment, and additional controls were put in place that will further deter similar future scams," the statement said.
The statement continued, "procedures in place and implemented by our Office’s Claims Division — which approved over 65,000 claims in 2019 and saved taxpayer dollars — ensure that County funds are protected. The Comptroller looks forward to the opportunity to advocate for additional financial system modernizations which will further protect tax dollars."