W. Virginia Auditor Sues 3 Banks over multi-state bank Scam

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West Virginia's auditor says the recent criminal case targeting an international fraud scheme should help him recover at least some of the nearly $1 plus million the state lost in the scam.

Auditor Glen Gainer filed a civil lawsuit against the three banks (Wachovia, SunTrust and TCF) that handled the transactions involved in the Kenya-based bank scheme. 

The criminal case focused on six Kenyan nationals who pleaded guilty to charges they helped an international crime ring scam government agencies in four states. The scheme surrounded an attempt to bilk a total of $3.3 million from Kansas, Massachusetts, Ohio and West Virginia over several months last year. It does not include another $1.07 million scammed from West Virginia at the same time by similar means. Nor did it include, though evidence links to, the same international ring allegedly attempting to divert $2.5 million from Utah --or a suspected failed attempt to defraud Florida officials that same year. 

The six Kenyan nationals were sentenced last month on federal charges in the scheme. Their roles included setting up dummy corporations and bank accounts, and wiring West Virginia's funds to Kenya.

The state auditor hopes this civil suit will help to recover the money W. Virgina lost in in the scam. The scheme tricked Auditor Gainer's office and officials in several other states into rerouting payments meant for legitimate businesses.

The banks deny any wrongdoing. MORE
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