Northern France: Fraud Press Review (November 2020)

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Each month, the press review comes back on some cases of fraud and scam in the North of France. In November, the town hall of Aulnoye-Aymeries has suffered a ransomware attack. In Valenciennes, 67 Romanians have been sentenced to prison for benefit fraud. In Lille, an employee in sick leave would have embezzled 500 000 euros in a few months only.

Valenciennes: 67 Romanians convicted for benefit fraud

The criminal court Valenciennes convicted 67 romanian citizens for benefit fraud between 2015 and 2017. The fraudsters were pretending that they were living in France and were declaring fake professional activities. The total prejudice reaches 900 000 euros according to the investigation of the border police. The Romanians have been sentenced to prison, from 15 months to 4 years. Some of them had never been in France at all.

Aulnoye-Aymeries: a ransomware attack at the town hall

If many private companies have suffered from ransomware attacks, this is now the case for a public organization. The town hall of Aulnoye-Aymeries, near Maubeuge in the North of France, has been attacked by hackers who have blocked its IT system. Civil state data and backups have been encrypted. A ransom of 150 000 euros has been asked by the hackers to recover the data. The town hall refused any kind of payment, which is actually the best practice in this case of cyberattack.

Lille: an employee embezzled 500 000 euros in a few months

An employee has embezzled around 500 000 euros in a company located in Lille. While she was in sick leave, she has made several bank transfers between June and October 2020, from the company bank accounts to a bank account opened at her husband’s name.

She has been arrested together with her husband, and large amounts of money have been seized. The bank account used by the couple has been blocked, as well as the purchase order of a new vehicle done at the name of the employer.

Even if the fraud has been discovered quite quickly thanks to the high amounts transferred during a short period of time, it is recommended to implement specific procedures aiming to avoid this kind of fraudulent transfers, such as a double signature requirement for bank transfers exceeding a certain value.