PALM COAST, Fla. - A massive sum of money was stolen from Flagler Schools' fund to expand Matanzas High School, the district confirmed Tuesday. The development was expanded upon in a press conference by Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly on Wednesday.
The money, amounting to over $719,000, was stolen entirely electronically according to Staly. The district immediately launched its own internal investigation, and the Flagler County Sheriff's Office is also on the case. Beyond that, the FBI and Secret Service are involved per Staly's remarks.
Officials with both the district and the FCSO remain tight-lipped as the investigation just gets off the ground. Staly has said he does not believe it to be likely that the money will be recovered, and he drew from past experiences to indicate it may have been transferred to a foreign country with little access for American law enforcement agencies.
One computer from the school district has been seized by the FCSO's Cyber Crimes Division. Staly alluded that if the outside contracting firm tasked with constructing the MHS expansion does not turn over its computer(s) voluntarily, a subpoena may be issued to seize it too.
Staly wouldn't confirm exactly when the theft took place, but he indicated that it was long enough ago that the time that's since elapsed makes it unlikely for the money to be recouped. Superintendent LaShakia Moore, also present at the press conference, refused to confirm whether or not the funds were in any way insured against theft.
A series of hypothetical events were described by Staly, who refused to confirm whether this was actually what happened (or if they even knew at that point): an outside actor may have hacked a district computer using a virus placed by a spam email, and either coerced district administrators to wire them the money or simply withdrawn the funds themselves. Staly speculated it may have been to fund a criminal network in some untold country.
Staly made clear that no personnel in the district made a mistake, and so the easy conclusions of incompetence or obliviousness may not be applicable. It's unclear as of now when more information will be made available about the case.