Diocese in Des Moines Robbed

“More than $600,000 has been stolen electronically from a Bankers Trust account belonging to the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines, the bank and the diocese said Friday.

The thieves are believed to be “a highly sophisticated operation most likely based overseas” who transferred the money “to numerous recipients across the United States on Aug. 13 and 16,” the diocese said in a statement announcing the theft.

Bankers Trust alerted the diocese to the fraud on Aug. 17. The bank immediately shut down relevant bank accounts and began a process to recover the funds. “To date, approximately $180,000 has been recovered,” the diocese said.

“No diocesan or bank staff is suspected” of being involved in the theft, the diocese said.

The statement said law enforcement officials have said that similar thefts have involved the “participation of individuals who unknowingly act as intermediaries of the funds obtained by theft.”

Des Moines Diocese Bishop Richard Pates said in the statement that the loss was protected by insurance.

“We have been advised that such criminal activity is rampant,” Pates said in the statement.

The FBI and U.S. Treasury were immediately notified of the theft, the diocese said, adding that the FBI has taken possession of several diocesan computers.

Bankers Trust has sent a memo to its employees informing them that the bank’s “Internet system was not breached and continues to be secure.”

“We do not yet know how the criminals infiltrated the diocesan systems, but we expect the investigation will reveal this so we can share with other clients and prevent potential breaches of their systems,” said the memo signed by Donald J. Coffin, Bankers Trust’s chief lending officer.

The diocese serves 82 parishes in 23 central and southwest Iowa counties.” – “$600,000 is Stolen from Des Moines Diocese”, The Des Moines Register

This story from The Des Moines Register was a real shame to read about. This poor diocese had a large sum of money stolen from them, and there was nothing they could possibly do about it. The thieves are apparently very good with electronics and computers because they found a way to scoop up all of this diocese’s savings without actually taking any physical money. Hopefully they continue to recover money over the next few weeks. Keep this diocese in your prayers.