Polk County man faces fraud, grand theft charges for diverting $460K in funds from Texas Dept. of Public Safety

Polk County

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — A Polk County man is facing multiple charges for allegedly posing as the Texas Department of Public Safety and diverting more than $486,000 to a fraudulent account since January 2020.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Amos Winston Levy, 44, of Winter Haven is facing charges of organized scheme to defraud, money laundering and grand theft when he created a fake business and fraudulently opened a Florida bank account using the name of a legitimate vendor for the Texas Department of Public Safety (Texas DPS).

Agents say they caught on to the scheme in late January when workers at the Citizens Bank & Trust, located on N. Broadway Avenue in Bartow, notified authorities Levy was attempting to initiate a “suspicious” wire transfer of $94,000 to an overseas account.

Documents show employees attempted to stall Levy at the counter, allowing time to confirm the wire transfers and notify authorities. But Levy left the bank before the wire transfer was completed.

An investigation later found that the company used to divert funds, CNC Technologies, was an authorized vendor for Texas DPS.

“However, Texas DPS contacted CNC Technologies and confirmed that the account created in their business name at Citizens Bank & Trust was fraudulent.”

Further investigations found that the letter “G” in technologies was changed to the letter “Q.”

Authorities say Levy relied on this “sophisticated scam” technique called Business Email Compromise, which targets businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The scam can rely on phishing techniques, which in this case was “an email that appears to be from a legitimate business partner due to similarities in the email header information.”

A heavily redacted report broke down exactly how Levy facilitated the phishing scheme against Texas DPS. FDLE says Texas DPS’s total loss after recovery was just over $266,000.

Authorities say Levy turned himself in Tuesday before he was booked into the Polk County Jail on $90,000 bond.

FDLE Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell said, “I am grateful for the continued partnership between FDLE and law enforcement agencies across the country. Working together with our peers in Texas, FDLE agents were able to successfully resolve this case and arrest the person responsible. These types of crimes affect both public and private entities and are a priority for FDLE.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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