Fraudsters allegedly hack POI email

Tricks FL company to pay services to fraudulent account in UK

Fraudsters allegedly hacked an email of Pacific Oriental Inc. Aviation and tricked a Florida-based company into wiring $42,164 to a fraudulent bank account in the United Kingdom. The money was supposed to be paid to POI for ground handling services in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu.

POI Aviation, through counsel Steven P. Pixley, is suing National Air Cargo before the Superior Court for breach of contract and negligence. POI demands a jury trial.

POI seeks to recover its damages in the principal amount of $42,164, plus an unspecified amount of pre-judgment interest, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

As of press time yesterday, Saipan Tribune was still awaiting comments from National Air Cargo.

POI provides ground handling services to airlines operating at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

According to Pixley in the complaint filed last Thursday, National Air Cargo contracted with POI in January to provide ground handling services for an aircraft that was delivering cargo to Saipan in the aftermath of Yutu. National Air Cargo agreed to pay POI via wire transaction.

Pixley said that, on Jan. 2, 2019, POI gave National Air Cargo instructions to wire payments to POI’s Bank of Hawaii account in Garapan. National Air Cargo allegedly failed to do so. Pixley said this constitute a breach of its contractual obligations to POI.

The lawyer said POI made several demands for payment but National Air Cargo refused.

Pixley said that, based on information and belief, fraudsters hacked into POI Aviation’s email and purportedly sent an email to National Air Cargo on Jan. 14, 2019, which stated “don’t send payment to Bank of Hawaii account. As you know, it is a small bank and would have taken longer to receive credit for your payment.”

This email purportedly instructed National Air Cargo to send payments to an account in the United Kingdom instead.

Pixley said National Air Cargo informed POI that it sent several payments to the fraudulent bank account without confirming the new wiring instructions, which contained markedly different information from the Jan. 2 wiring instructions.

Pixley said the change in the wiring instructions to a foreign country in British sterling and the comments regarding the Bank of Hawaii should have prompted National Air Cargo to confirm the information with POI prior to wiring any funds.

“National Air Cargo breached its duty of care owed to POI Aviation by not confirming this suspicious new information,” he pointed out.

Pixley said POI is a relatively small company that does not have an office in the United Kingdom.

“This information is readily available on the internet,” said Pixley, adding that National Air Cargo was in the best position to prevent the fraud.

Simply put, Pixley said, National Air Cargo should have exercised reasonable care after receiving conflicting emails containing conflicting wiring instructions by calling POI to confirm or verify the correct wire instructions prior to wiring the funds.

As such, he added, National Air Cargo should suffer the loss associated with the fraud.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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