- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2018

California state Sen. Richard Pan, Sacramento Democrat, said his re-election campaign was scammed out of $46,000 as the result of a “sophisticated” cybercrime scheme.

Mr. Pan told The Sacramento Bee that someone hacked his email account earlier this year and subsequently sent a message to his campaign treasurer containing an invoice requesting $46,000 supposedly destined for a vaccine-related nonprofit, the newspaper reported Thursday.

Mr. Pan’s treasurer ultimately wrote the check after exchanging emails with whomever alleged hacked his account, he told The Bee.

“She was going back and forth via email with supposedly me trying to confirm this is what I really wanted to do,” Mr. Pan said of his treasurer. “It speaks to really thinking about what kind of processes we have in place for trying to protect our respective campaigns and organizations with money involved.”

Both the FBI and California Highway Patrol are investigating the incident, Mr. Pan told The Bee. Neither agency immediately offered comment.

“Hopefully we can identify the people who did it,” said Mr. Pan, who is up for re-election in November. “That will send a signal that they can’t just get away with it and the people who try these things can get caught.”

Internet scams that involve cybercriminals soliciting funds from organizations while masquerading as their executives or associates are colloquially called business email compromise (BEC) schemes. Criminals have conducted BEC schemes against targets ranging from nonprofits and churches to corporations and school systems in every U.S. state and more than 100 countries since the FBI began tracking the scams in 2013, and BEC scams resulted in over $3 billion in losses between 2015 and 2017, according to the bureau’s website.

Mr. Pan, a 52-year-old pediatrician and educator, was elected in 2014 to represent California’s Sixth District after serving four years as a member of the California State Assembly. He introduced a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015 that toughened vaccination requirements for children attending private or public schools within the state.

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