Law enforcement recovers $725,000 after phishing scheme targets school in Louisiana

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More than $700,000 has been recovered by local and federal law enforcement after a phishing scheme targeted a Caddo Parish charter school.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered most of the funds that were designated for Charter Schools USA, the charter operator for Magnolia School of Excellence.

In December, law enforcement officials launched their investigation into approximately $988,000 in funds meant for Charter Schools USA, but were internationally phished through an account based in Africa. 

During the investigation led by CPSO’s Cyber Crimes law enforcement determined an unknown individual fraudulently posed as an employee with Charter Schools USA, and spoofed an official charter email account to change the organization’s banking information on file with Caddo Schools. 

As a Type 1 charter, the district makes monthly payments to Charter Schools USA based on Magnolia School of Excellence’s enrollment.

Since January, investigators have tracked and retrieved thousands as investigation continues
The investigation remains ongoing as law enforcement continues to work to determine any international persons connected with the scheme and to recover the remaining missing funds.

“Throughout this process, the Caddo Sheriff’s Office Cyber Crimes team has taken such care to follow every lead to ensure the funds were found and returned back to taxpayers as quickly as possible,” said Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools. 

“Sheriff Steve Prator, Sgt. Doug Smith and the Sheriff’s staff never tired, and through their efforts, we continue to track the rest of the fraudulently obtained funds and bring justice to those persons responsible for this crime,” Goree said.

Individuals with information pertaining to this ongoing investigation are encouraged to contact the Caddo Sheriff’s Office Cyber Crimes Division, the lead agency overseeing the investigation.

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