A Nasty Con Strikes Condé Nast

NEW YORK—A scammer posing as a representative for one of the nation’s largest printers managed to con a major publisher into wiring $8 million into his bank account late last year, Wired.com reported. Fortunately for the publisher, the phisher was caught by federal agents before he could withdraw any money.

Media mogul Condé Nast allegedly began sending payments for printing jobs to a bank account it believed to be owned by Quad/Graphics of Sussex, WI, which prints magazines for the publisher. Citing court documents, Wired.com reported that the publisher’s accounts payable department received an e-mail that appeared to come from the printer, asking that payments be sent to a specific bank account, and even included an electronic payments authorization form. According to the e-mail, the account was for “Quad Graph,” a close match to the actual printer’s name.

A Condé Nast representative signed and returned the form via a fax number listed in the e-mail, and began making electronic transfer payments. A total of about $8 million was wired to the “Quad Graph” account between Nov. 17 and Dec. 30, 2010. The scam was discovered when Quad/Graphics reached out to the publisher regarding outstanding bills.

Federal authorities were able to obtain a seizure warrant on Jan. 10, 2011, to freeze two accounts held by Andy Surface before any of the money was withdrawn. Surface has yet to be charged with a crime, according to Wired.com, which is published by Condé Nast.