Cyber swindler behind scam that bilked Fairfax County out of more than $600K pleads guilty

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) -- Cyber criminals posing as Dell computer employees successfully scammed the Fairfax County government out of more than $600,000 – and one man who was charged has already pleaded guilty.

His accomplices are believed to be in Kenya.

According to the FBI, a man named Robert Muli and others only named as co-conspirators were able to fool the finance department at the Fairfax County government into believing they were with the accounts payable department at Dell computers.

The county government had a contract with Dell to supply new equipment to the school system.

But in August of last year, the FBI says Muli and others used a fake Dell computer email address to fool the finance department into switching bank accounts.

And instead of sending the funds to Dell, they went to an account at a bank in Ohio set up by Robert Muli.

For approximately a month, the finance department sent large sums of money to the fake account – more than $1.3 million – before the real company complained that they were not being paid for services rendered.

That's when the scam was uncovered and the FBI learned that the emails were coming from Kenya.

The Fairfax County government declined to comment on camera – issuing a statement instead:

"In September 2018, Fairfax County identified a financial fraud and immediately reported the incident to law enforcement. The fraud was committed by external parties. An internal review of the case was completed and new internal safeguards and procedures are now in place to prevent this type of crime from occurring in the future."