Volusia scammer steals $60K from construction company, deputies say

A 47-year-old Volusia County man is behind bars after he allegedly used romance and email scams to steal over $60,000 from a construction company.

In December of 2020, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and Highlands County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation when two construction companies contacted them regarding suspicious emails that had been received.

According to FDLE, both companies were working together on a construction project, and they had received the suspicious emails concerning their businesses. An analysis of those emails confirmed that one of the company’s email accounts had been hacked.

FLDE stated that the investigation ultimately revealed that a man, identified as Taufiq Mohammed Kailani, had pretended to be an employee of one of the construction companies. After using a “business email imposter scam,” Kailani allegedly managed to “trick” the other construction company into wiring a total of $60,725 into a fraudulent bank account.

“To make his scheme appear legitimate, (Kailani) also attached a counterfeit bank letter to the fraudulent email,” stated FDLE in a media release.

According to law enforcement, the fraudulent bank account was opened by an elderly victim who had been befriended by Kailani through an alleged romance scam. After the construction company wired $60,725 to the fraudulent account, Kailani allegedly instructed the elderly victim to withdraw the money and send it to him.

The Volusia Sheriff’s Office assisted FDLE with investigating this case. On Saturday, March 16, the sheriff’s office arrested Kailani and transported him to Volusia County Jail, where he is being held on a $1,500,000 bond.

Kailani is being charged with organized fraud, fraudulent use of personal identification information for personal gain, and money laundering.

The case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

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