Lord Mayor Graham Quirk answering questions about the alleged fraud in Teneriffe on Tuesday, Photo: Glenn Hunt Opposition leader Peter Cumming is concerned about how “simple” the scam was. Photo: Glenn Hunt
Nanjing Night Net

A furious Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has conceded it was unlikely his council would ever see the $450,000 it paid to fraudsters after it fell victim to an elaborate scam.

It was revealed late Monday night that the council was scammed out of more than $450,000 by fraudsters who posed as a supplier and changed the payment details.

The fraud came to light when the supplier contacted the council about its unpaid accounts, at which point it became clear the council had been defrauded of $450,904.76 over nine payments since July 13.

Cr Quirk conceded on Tuesday it was “probably unlikely” the council would recoup that money.

“I would hope we can, but I am not holding great hope that we will get that money back,” he said.

Cr Quirk would not go into detail about whether the money was paid into Australian or international bank accounts, but said that could end up being a moot point.

“As we know with scams, what happens is they, as part of that scam, then do transfers,” he said.

“I don’t want to say any more at this stage – it’s a matter for the police to do their work from now on.”

Council opposition leader Peter Cumming said the greatest concern about the fraud against Brisbane’s ratepayers was how “simple” it was.

“According to the Lord Mayor’s statements, all it took was a phone call or two and a fake email to net these scammers $450,000,” he said.

“Brisbane ratepayers put their trust in Graham Quirk’s administration to wisely shepherd the city’s finances and here they have been taken in by a pack of online wolves like a flock of hapless sheep.

“Ratepayers of Brisbane rightly demand that this fundamental error in council’s financial management systems is fixed.

“Graham Quirk should be assuring Brisbane residents that this will not happen again and that council practices are being urgently and thoroughly reviewed to ensure payment systems are secure.”

That review was announced on Monday night, with accounting firm Deloitte hired to conduct an independent, external review into the council’s operations, practices and processes that allowed the fraud to take place.

Cr Quirk said it was a “pretty sick feeling” that ratepayers had been scammed of such a large amount of money.

“That’s why we’ve called in Deloitte to look at our own procedures and our own practices,” he said.

“Scammers work in a pretty terrible way and ratepayers have now been the victim of this work,” he said.

While he held little anticipation of seeing the money again, Cr Quirk said he hoped justice, at least, could be delivered.

“If we can find those responsible for this, and I’m hoping that police inquiries will lead to that, then I hope that the full force of the law will be upon them,” he said.

The cost of the Deloitte review had not yet been confirmed.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.