Thousands stolen from former UVic employee’s bank account

Saanich police believe financial theft is connected to weekend data theft

Saanich police said Thursday that a former University of Victoria employee had thousands of dollars fraudulently removed from her bank account on Monday.

They cannot confirm if the financial theft is related to the theft of an electronic device from the university on the weekend that contained the banking information and social insurance numbers of 11,841 employees. However, they suspect it is.

“We do believe this is connected to the break-in,” said Sgt. Dean Jantzen. “This turn of events obviously provides some avenues for investigation. … But it is unfortunate that we didn’t get a break until someone was victimized.”

Police and the university have still not determined when the break-in to the Administrative Services Building occurred. Instead, they say it happened in a 24-hour timeframe between the evening of Saturday, Jan. 7, and late afternoon on Jan. 8.

The fraudulent activity on the employee’s bank account was transacted Monday, but it wasn’t noticed until late Wednesday afternoon.

“Right from the beginning we treated this as being serious, and we asked all our employees to take it seriously,” said Gayle Gorrill, UVic’s vice-president of finance and operations.

“Be vigilant,” she advised employees, “even though this may or may not be connected.”

Detectives with the department’s financial crimes unit are now waiting on documents from the employee’s bank that will provide more details on the fraudulent activity.

Jantzen said detectives can then work backwards to find out where the fraud originated, and hopefully capture video of the suspect committing the fraud.

In the meantime, he’s advising all other UVic employees affected (anyone who’s received a pay stub from the university since January 2010) to contact their bank or credit union.

UVic continues to advise its employees to do the same, as well as contact credit bureaus to put a flag on their name in the event of any credit application.

Police are asking that only people who suspect they have been victimized contact investigators. Otherwise, questions and concerns should be directed to the University of Victoria (250-472-4333) or your financial institution.

Anyone with information on the break-in or fraud is asked to contact Saanich police at 250-475-4321 or Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

kslavin@saanichnews.com