Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, right, and Treasurer Hiwot Abraha. STAFF PHOTO / ERIC HIGGENBOTHAM

DPS superintendent: ‘Multiple red flags’ that email was fake in paycheck scam

UPDATE @ 11:50 a.m.:

There were multiple signs that an email requesting to change banking information for Dayton Public School Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli was fraudulent, according to Lolli.

She said when she sat down to pay bills on Sunday, Feb. 10, she noticed her Feb. 8 paycheck from DPS had not appeared in her account. She said she informed Treasurer Hiwot Abraha, but that Abraha said the district had record of the payment going out. That led to an investigation that revealed the scam.

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Lolli said an employee in DPS’ payroll department missed “multiple red flags” in the scammer’s emails, including that the messages did not come from Lolli’s email address, that the home address listed was not current and that the Social Security number was wrong.

“We have quite a few security measures , this was a matter of a person not paying attention and maybe feeling a little intimidated because it was an email from the superintendent,” said Lolli.

Abraha said the employee in question was immediately disciplined. Neither Lolli nor Abraha would comment on the extent of the discipline, except to say that it followed the steps of DPS’ progressive discipline policy.

Dr. Elizabeth Lolli had an entire paycheck stolen after her direct deposit was fraudulently changed.

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Lolli and Abraha said numerous school districts have recently received these scam emails, including Fairborn schools, where Lolli’s husband, Gene, is superintendent. Elizabeth Lolli said in Fairborn, a payroll employee went to her husband to ask if the request to change bank accounts was legitimate, nipping the problem in the bud.

Abraha said DPS is now receiving numerous similar scam emails, but has not found any other errors. She said DPS is notifying all employees that any bank account changes will now need to be processed in person.

INITIAL REPORT:

Dayton police are looking into a fraud complaint after a school district was scammed out of a superintendent's $5,000 paycheck, according to a police report.

Dayton Public Schools’ payroll department received an email from someone claiming to be Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli requesting to change her bank account, an assistant treasurer reportedly told police.

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Payroll sent the emailer, which used a Tampa Bay Roadrunner account, a form to change the bank account.

The person sent back the form with a Social Security number registered to a Cincinnati man, an address in Mason and information for an American Express National Bank in Salt Lake City.

Payroll changed the account number, but then was advised by Lolli that she hadn’t been paid, according to the report.

By that time, the money that was deposited — $5,159.68 — was already withdrawn from the account.

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DPS Director of Communications Tracey Hanlin said the district does not comment on human resource issues.

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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