Oops! Government lost $1.4M in fake request

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


The nonprofit Central City Concern, which has a $17 million grant with the City of Portland, asked for $1.4 million. The City approved. It appears that teh request was fraudulent.  OPB reports, “According to one city official familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak about the investigation, the money the nonprofit requested was redirected to a different bank account unrelated to Central City Concern. In the time it takes to complete a wire transfer, the city was out $1.4 million. It appears to be the single biggest theft in Portland government history. City leaders have been extremely tight-lipped about the incident. On Friday, the Office of Management and Finance sent reporters a short press release, saying they learned of a “cybersecurity breach” that led to a “fraudulent financial transaction” late last month after a second similar transaction was attempted on May 17 from “the same account.” It’s not clear whether the second attempt targeted money meant for Central City Concern or another entity owed money from Portland. City officials say they caught the second attempt before the money went out.”

Our politicians should be aware of such actions.

It was just a few weeks before this happened that a damning national report alerted everyone that 10% of Covid PPP business loan funds were fraudulent.

And why are the politicians silent on this?

This crime could help alert other local governments in real-time.

It also prevents others from helping.  For instance, when Clackamas County Elections encountered ballot problems early in the process the response was to minimize it and keep the details as secret as possible.  That did not work too well as the problem only grew worse.    People and resources who could have helped in the beginning were effectively pushed away.

We understand that government money mistakes are embarrassing to politicians, but we are all adults, we realize that devious criminals rob from us all, yet the politicians have an obligation to put aside their feelings for the greater good by being honest and timely on these problems so it can help others.

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