PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The unredacted banking information of two public officials who had money stolen from their campaign accounts was available online for months before it was removed, the Board of Elections revealed on Tuesday.
Board of Elections Chair Diane Mederos said the board’s staff accidentally posted the campaign bank account numbers of Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea as part of a report on candidates who received public matching funds in 2018.
Both Fung’s and Gorbea’s account and routing numbers should have been redacted from the documents but were not, according to Mederos.
“We take full responsibility for not redacting the account information within the report which may have been the source of the fraudulent activity,” Mederos said.
According to Board of Elections executive director Robert Rapoza, the unredacted information was posted online April 2. That report was removed and replaced with a redacted version on July 22, meaning the information had been publicly available for around three and a half months.
Earlier this month, Fung’s campaign discovered $15,000 had gone missing from his account. The campaign reported it to Rhode Island State Police investigators, who referred it to police in New York, where the fraudulent transaction took place.
After seeing media reports about the theft, Gorbea’s office said her campaign discovered $15,000 was missing from her account as well. She reported the theft to state police, who tracked the transaction to Texas.
Mederos said Board of Elections leaders met with state police, and a detective told them “it is likely” the information posted online led to the aforementioned thefts.
“There has been no information received by the BOE that our website posting was the source of the problem,” Rapoza said in an email.