Ottawa’s city treasurer was scammed into wire-transferring more than $100,000 of taxpayer funds to a fraudster after she fell for an email scam, according to the city’s auditor general’s office.
Last July, Ottawa city treasurer Marian Simulik received an email from an address she thought belonged to city manager Steve Kanellakos.
In the email, someone posing as Kanellakos asked Simulik to wire transfer nearly US$98,000 – or approximately CAD$130,000 – to pay a city supplier. After several email exchanges with the fraudsters, Simulik agreed to send the funds to a U.S. bank account later that day.
Five days later, the city treasurer received another email from the same account asking her to transfer another US$150,000 or CAD$200,000 to the same company to complete the bill payment.
This time, however, Simulik was sitting near Kanellakos in a meeting when the email came in so she asked him about it in person. When he didn’t know what she was talking about, they both realized she had been the victim of a scam.
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