NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/82nSS5)
(Ashland, Ore.) — An email scheme was perpetrated against Southern Oregon University earlier this spring by an unknown person or people who fraudulently posed as an official with the contractor for SOU’s McNeal Pavilion and Student Recreation Center construction project.
As a result of this act of criminal fraud, SOU’s April payment to the contractor – about $1.9 million – was transferred to a bank account the company did not control.
Local, state and federal authorities were notified immediately after the fraud was discovered. An investigation was launched and efforts by the university are currently underway on multiple fronts to recover any and all losses.
SOU is fully cooperating with the FBI investigation, with the hope that the criminal or criminals who carried out this fraud can be brought to justice and the stolen money recovered.
“There are lessons here for anyone operating in today’s electronic business environment,” SOU General Counsel Jason Catz said today in a message to campus. “We have learned from law enforcement sources that SOU is not the only victim of this particular scheme, which has targeted other U.S. higher education institutions.
“We are also carefully reviewing our own policies and procedures to determine how we can prevent any similar incidents in the future,” Catz said.
SOU is working to reclaim any funds that remain in the bank account to which they were sent. The university is also determining the extent of its insurance coverage, and how it may help to remedy losses from any unrecovered funds.
The incident will not affect any university programs or operations, and will not alter the athletic pavilion construction project, which is scheduled for completion in January.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.