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Rock Island County Investigates Costly Wire Fraud

Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos and County Board Chair Richard Brunk.

Rock Island County is trying to figure out who stole $115,000 of taxpayer money.

Rock Island County is trying to figure out who stole $115,000 of taxpayer money. On Friday, Sheriff Gerry Bustos announced an investigation into suspected wire fraud involving the County Auditor's Office.

In June, the Auditor was contacted by what it believed to be a regular contractor with the county, asking for future payments to be wired instead of using physical checks. Two payments totaling $115,000 were wired and no fraud was suspected until the county was contacted by a local bank.

"As of July 28, the suspected fraudulent account has been frozen. The frozen balance of this account at this time is approximately $9,000. Again this is very serious. This is a significant loss of taxpayer dollars."

Bustos does not believe that any county employee was involved in the theft, but County Board Chair Richard Brunk has requested that one employee of the County Auditor's Office be placed on administrative leave.

"So the money is there to recoup and make sure the project continues as scheduled, that the vendor does--the legitimate vendor--does get payment. But it does equate to the taxpayers making up the loss."

Brunk has called for a forensic audit and plans to brief the county board at its regular meeting on Tuesday.