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Bayou Vermilion District releases statement on stolen money

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Posted at 11:14 AM, Apr 05, 2023

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Bayou Vermilion District (BVD) has released a statement on stolen insurance money.

Through electronic means, someone stole about $149,000, according to The Advocate. The money was intended to pay insurance premiums for the Bayou Vermilion District and Vermilionville.

The Lafayette Parish Council and other elected officials appoints the BVD board which consists of volunteers. Currenlty, the district is operating with an interim CEO since long-time CEO David Cheramie resigned in 2021. The Advocate reports that around 50 people recently submitted applications for the CEO job. Read the story here.

Lafayette Police are actively investigating the case, according to a spokesperson for the Department.

The Bayour Vermilion District released the following statement on April 5, 2023:

In early March, the District's staff corresponded as a matter of course with its insurance producer concerning timing and amount of remission of 2023 insurance premiums. The District was shortly thereafter (on March 20, 2023) the apparent victim of "spear phishing" efforts by as-yet-unknown actors who sought, through the use of a customized look-alike domain and tailored false correspondence, to modify the District's method of premiums payment and redirect the recipient of those payments, which were routed through the District's third-party accounting firm. On March 29, 2023, the apparent perpetrator of this fraud upon the District engaged in additional spear phishing efforts which led to discovery of the fraud, notification of appropriate law enforcement authorities, initiation of recovery efforts with the District's fiscal agent and thirdparty financial institutions, and notification and cooperation of the District's and its accounting and insurance partners.

As a public entity, the Bayou Vermilion District is bound as a responsible steward of public funds to investigate these events and their causes, internal and external, and work to ensure they are not repeated. The District also is complying with its statutory responsibilities of notification and explanation of these events to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and the District Attorney for the 15th Judicial District. The District expects to engage in top-down investigation of these events, why they occurred, and how they may not be repeated in future. The results of that investigation are expected to be made public once it is complete.

-Karen Hail, President Bayou Vermilion District

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