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Pennsylvania woman stole $111,000 from Minnesota’s Renville County in cybercrime scheme – West Central Tribune | #cybercrime | #infosec


— A 37-year-old woman from Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to a theft that ultimately swindled Renville County out of more than $100,000.

Talia Moseley

Contributed / Renville County Sheriff’s Office

Talia Moseley, of Chester, Pennsylvania, was sentenced May 1 in

Renville County District Court

to five years of probation and roughtly $111,000 in restitution on one felony count of theft by swindle. A sentence of 12 months and one day was stayed, and she will not have to serve it if she is compliant with probation.

Moseley pleaded guilty to the charge on April 15. In exchange for her plea, one felony count of recieving stolen property was dismissed. She will also be allowed to serve the supervised probation within her home state of Pennsylvania.

According to the sentencing order from Judge Laurence Stratton, Moseley was granted a stay of imposition, meaning her conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor if she successfully completes probation.

Per the plea agreement, Moseley will also be paying back an estimated $111,055.28 through monthly installments of at least $700 a month as outlined by her attorney at the sentencing hearing.

However, Judge Stratton ordered that a more specific agreement regarding payments be outlined in writing before a restitution hearing scheduled for May 28.

Moseley also agreed that should the court find a probation violation regarding payments, she will have to serve her stayed sentence. She was given credit for serving 72 days in jail.

Before Moseley’s sentence was issued, Renville County Administrator Lisa Herges spoke briefly at the hearing saying, “this adversely affected every resident within Renville County.”

Moseley apologized to the court for her part in the theft. She said she was not fully aware of the circumstances or where exactly the money had come from when she had made transactions from an account she said she set up with another person.

Moseley was arrested on the Minnesota charges on Feb. 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada. After being extradited, she was booked into custody at the Renville County Jail on March 16.

According to a news release issued by Renville County after Moseley was booked, Renville County was the victim of a misdirected payment scheme in late 2021 and early 2022. The end result was more than $100,000 fraudulently wired to a business registered in Delaware. Moseley was the registered owner of that business, according to the news release.

In a May 2 phone interview, Herges told the West Central Tribune that she felt there simply wasn’t an adequate system in place at the time to catch the mistake. Herges said that Moseley and whoever else was behind the misdirected payment scheme were able to find a form on the county website that vendors could use to receive electronic payments from the county.

Herges said that by researching County Board meetings and previous actions, the fraudulent account holder found a public works project that had been awarded to a legitimate vendor and used that information to fill out a fraudulent payment request form.

“I think if we would have had a more complex process in place to confirm, to double-check the identity of the requester … that would have caught the issue, but apparently we did not,” Herges said.

Herges said two payments had been made to the fraudulent account before the actual vendor had contacted the county saying it had not received its payments. Once the error was found, Herges said the county completely changed its process.

Herges confirmed the employee who handled the payments is still employed by Renville County.

“It wasn’t just one single person, it was a process problem. It was an internal process that we needed to improve upon and so that’s what we did immediately,” she said.

Herges said the recent restructuring of the auditor-treasurer and assessor offices in Renville County was unrelated to the misdirected payments.

According to the criminal complaint, an investigator learned an employee with Renville County had sent more than $136,000 to what she thought was a construction company. According to the complaint, two payments were made to the account on Dec. 31, 2021, and on April 29, 2022.

The payments were sent to the company after many email conversations, according to the complaint. However, the investigator found that the email used to contact the employee was not actually the construction company it purported to be, but an unknown person.

Upon further investigation, the money was found to have been deposited into a bank account that was allegedly opened by Moseley with the account named under Moseley Medical Services LLC. The business had an address located in Delaware.

According to the complaint, the investigator learned the first payment made to the account was for $128,000 and that transactions out of the account grew exponentially shortly after the deposit, including the purchase of a 2011 Kia Sorento.

In a statement to Delaware State Police, Moseley said she owns the business Moseley Medical, but said she had no knowledge of the fraudulent construction company. She said a friend had helped her open the JP Morgan account.

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