New Hampshire Town Loses $2.3M in Taxpayer Money to Cyberattack

“It’s really a gut punch, that’s for sure,” Select Board member William Kennedy said Monday

The town of Peterborough, New Hampshire, said Monday that it has lost $2.3 million in taxpayer dollars as the result of a cyberattack.

“It pains us to inform the residents and taxpayers of Peterborough that, like so many other towns and cities, we have fallen victim to an internet-based crime that has defrauded our taxpayers of $2.3m,” Select Board Chairman Tyler Ward and Town Administrator Nicole MacStay said in a press release posted to Facebook.

They said they don’t believe the funds can be recovered by reversing the transaction, and they don’t know if the losses will be covered by insurance.

“It’s really a gut punch, that’s for sure,” Select Board member William Kennedy said when reached by phone Monday. He said he had already fielded several calls from residents in the hour since the press release was first posted online.

Town officials said it is not believed that any town staff were criminally involved in the money transfers, but the Finance Department employees who were directly targeted in this fraud have been placed on paid leave until the Secret Service’s ongoing investigation is complete.

ConVal Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders also issued a statement Monday saying the school district is aware of the ongoing investigation. She said school district IT staff reviewed email and server access logs and found no signs of malicious activity.

“We are working alongside the Town of Peterborough, the U.S. Secret Service, legal counsel and our insurer to support this investigation however we can and develop a better understanding of how this theft occurred, as well as to recoup the lost funding however possible,” she said.

Ward and MacStay said the town is still waiting to hear from its insurance provider whether the losses will be covered either in whole or in part. Meanwhile, the town has canceled all automated transfers, and all policies and procedures relating to electronic transactions are currently under review.


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