George James, 48, faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly stealing $566,000 from a Kansas county in an email spoofing scheme.
George James, 48, faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly stealing $566,000 from a Kansas county in an email spoofing scheme.

What happened? George James, a Brookhaven, Georgia man, was arrested after allegedly sending a spoofed email that tricked county employees in Kansas into transferring $566,000 into his corporate bank account.

The Charge: One count of wire fraud. The accused faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Jurisdiction: The U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Kansas is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office and the Wichita Police Department.

Background: James, 48, is accused of sending employees of Sedgwick County, Kansas a spoof email that appeared to come from the CEO of Cornejo & Sons, LLC, a Wichita-based construction company that had worked on a local road project.

The fraudulent email, sent on Sept. 23, 2016, contained a form requesting an electronic payment to a bank located in Georgia. Shortly after Sedgwick County sent the payment on Oct. 7, officials learned that the company never received the payment and in fact never sent the email. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, investigators eventually traced the payment back to James.

A press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office states that the scheme involved “providing false information over the Internet to the county's Automated Clearing House,” adding that the fraudulent email “caused the county to change the information it kept on file for the Cornejo company's financial institution and bank account.”

Source: U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Kansas.