March 31, 2024

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Erie County got scammed out of more than $100,000 taxpayer money after being tricked into paying a scam artist pretending to be a local construction firm.

WKBW

Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Executive reacting Thursday to the scam email.

“It’s not just disappointing — it’s completely unacceptable,” respond Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Executive.

Poloncarz reacting to a scam that cost the county $108,000

In August, the Erie County Department of Works (ECDPW) received an email believed to be from Mark Cerrone, Inc., a local construction company, doing work at the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo.

That email asked for the county to change the bank routing number for payment.

But when the actual construction firm called the county asking for its payment, the county realized the email was fraudulent and the comptroller’s office sent the money to a bank in Texas.

RATH BLDG.jpg

WKBW

Outside Erie County Rath Building.

“Somewhere along the line the comptroller’s office a mistake was made and it should just not happen,” Poloncarz reacted.

Director of operations at Cerrone, George Lodick, tells me hackers took the company’s domain name and reversed two letters — from @markcerrone.com to @markecrrone.com, sending the fake email to the county.

CERRONE TRUCK.jpg

WKBW

Mark Cerrone, Inc. construction vehicle driving in front of Rath Building…

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