The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District lost out on more than $800,000 last fall after someone pretending to work for the contractor CG Schmidt sent school officials an invoice for work on a new recreation center.
CG Schmidt is the general contractor on the district’s new Recreation and Community Services Center at 2450 S. 68th St. in West Allis, a $8 million project that got underway last spring.
In October, a district official sent a payment of $843,254.94 to someone claiming to be from CG Schmidt for work on the building. Law enforcement officials think the payment was intercepted and transferred to other accounts in the U.S. before being moved overseas, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the incident.
West Allis police and school district officials did not return several messages seeking comment by press time Tuesday.
Dan Davis, senior vice president for CG Schmidt, said the school district is the victim of fraud and had intended to send the payment to the contractor. The scammer used a system outside the contractor’s online payment process to intercept the money.
“The payment was intercepted by criminal actors separate and unrelated to CG Schmidt and its secure online payment system and process,” Davis said. “We support the district as it works with law enforcement authorities to address the matter and hopefully identify those behind the fraud and bring them to justice.”
Work is still underway on the the school district’s recreation center project, which entails the remodeling of an existing building and construction of an addition. Its features include an indoor track, a gym, preschool classroom and offices. CG Schmidt worked with the architect Groth Design Group on the job.Follow @natebeck9