Attempt to defraud Brighton of $380,000 payment is derailed

An attempt to defraud Brighton of a $348,000 payment to a contractor was discovered this week and the funds in question have been returned to the city.

On Monday, the city sent a $348,000 Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction to a bank, payable to a construction vendor for a December 2020 project, according to a news release.

On Tuesday afternoon, Brighton was notified by the bank officials of “suspicious activity” in a transaction, the release said.

Once alerted, police worked with the FBI and the city’s insurance company to investigate the incident. The bank, which was not identified in the release, was able to “recover the money and return it” to the city on Wednesday morning.

“Due to the hard work and prompt action of our city staff and the bank, the city was able to recover the money,” said Jane Bais DiSessa, Brighton city manager, in the release. “This incident is a good reminder of the prevalence of constant attempts at fraudulent activity. We will continue to work with investigators and strengthen any safeguards to prevent this from happening in the future.”

For the time being, and as a precaution, the city is not paying contracted vendors through the ACH system. An investigation is ongoing.

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