The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office is investigating a scam that New Hope officials say targeted the borough’s “money and financial information,” and may have involved employees of the municipality.
Gregg Shore, first assistant to Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub, on Wednesday confirmed that an investigation of the matter is underway, led by Prosecutor Marc Furber.
Furber serves as chief of the D.A.’s Economic Crimes and Arson Division, and is responsible for overseeing the prosecution of economic crime (also referred to as “financial” or “white collar” crime). The division prosecutes illegal activity, including theft, fraud, forgery, embezzlement, contractor fraud and identity theft.
Shore was unable to provide much detail on the situation, saying it could compromise an ongoing investigation. But he did say the initial alert from New Hope came via local police.
“Our office was referred to this investigation by the New Hope Police Department, and we’re working in conjunction and cooperation with New Hope police,” explained Shore.
And how long will the investigation continue? Anywhere from days to months, based on the past.
“It’s very hard to predict how long a case will take,” observed Shore.
“This case is being actively investigated, and will reach its conclusion when we can say to the public and those involved that it has been as thorough an investigation as possible,” he added.
Written statements issued by New Hope Borough Council President Alison Kingsley thus far assert that the borough is merely investigating whether any of its employees were involved in the financial scheme, but don’t offer much detail because the “internal employment investigation” involves a “personnel matter.”
And Borough Council said on Tuesday that it had not “suffered any financial loss as a result of the recent scam,” although on April 30 had said, “We do not believe that there has been any loss sustained by the Borough, nor was any information breached or accessed.”
What does all this mean?
Adding up the sparse facts provided by public officials and law enforcement, it appears that a joint investigation by the Bucks County Prosecutor and New Hope Police Department is focusing on possible involvement by New Hope Borough employees in a purported “financial irregularities scam.” And to the extent that the alleged scheme involved unauthorized or improper access to borough computers and/or networks, it seems that investigators will likely be looking at activities within Borough Hall, rather than those of outside hackers.
Stay tuned, as we used to say.