Judge: WV State Auditor Lacks Authority To Seek Scam Repayment

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A judge says the West Virginia auditor’s office doesn’t have the authority to seek repayment on behalf of the state for an international fraud scheme that cost it $1.5 million.

Kanawha County Circuit Court Joanna Tabit ruled last week that Wachovia Bank has no obligation to pay the auditor’s office. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports an attorney for the bank had said the auditor’s office was not part of the contract to process the state’s bank transactions.

Tabit did rule the auditor’s office could still pursue a negligence claim against Wachovia, which was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008.

Former Auditor Glen Gainer sued three banks that handled transactions in the Kenya-based fraud scheme. The scheme tricked Gainer’s office and officials in several other states in 2009 into rerouting payments meant for legitimate businesses.