Midlands Local Authority Investigating €515,000 Fraud Payment

It happened in January but wasn't discovered until last Friday.

Westmeath County Council is at the loss of half a million euro following a payment fraud.

It happened in January but wasn't discovered until last Friday, at which time Gardai were alerted and specialist advisers engaged.

In a letter to Oireachtas members, seen by Midlands 103, interim CEO Barry Kehoe says the payments involve a single supplier and that work is underway to mitigate losses to the taxpayer.

An internal investigation is underway and a report will be prepared for elected members as soon as practicable.

The total loss is €515,000 euro and Council is expected to issue a public statement imminently.

Statement from Westmeath County Council:

Westmeath County Council confirms that it has recently been the subject of a payment fraud initiated by a third-party in the amount of approximately €515,000.

As soon as the Council became aware of the mater, it immediately contacted An Garda Síochána and engaged the services of specialist advisers.

The issue is currently under investigation by An Garda Síochána and the Council is cooperatng fully with that investigation.

When investigations  are complete, a further statement will issue.

Cathaoirleach Liam McDaniel says it's a hard blow for the council.

Fine Gael Councillor Andrew Duncan believes it's "vital" the local authority gets to the bottom of the fraud case.

Private investigator and former detective, Mullingar's Pat Marry, says time is everything when it comes to fraud cases:

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