A fraud case involving a $600,000-plus payment for synthetic turf for Courtland High School’s football field does not appear to be linked to two other thefts from Spotsylvania County government, the Virginia State Police said.

“There is no evidence to suggest any of the three incidents is connected,” state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in a prepared statement.

The other two thefts involved a paycheck for a former high-ranking employee and gift card accounts. Officials have not released how much was stolen in those thefts.

Geller said the thefts are a case of “cyber phishing scams” and that the investigation started Aug. 1. Phishing scams are cases in which thieves use emails or text messages to trick victims into giving them personal information, such as passwords and account numbers.

“Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day—and they’re often successful,” according to the Federal Trade Commission.

According to the FBI’s 2018 crime report, there were $2.7 billion in losses related to internet fraud and theft last year. The report adds that there were an average of 900 complaints of internet crime every day, amounting to more than 351,000 such complaints in 2018.

The Virginia State Police is leading the investigations of all three thefts. The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office and the county’s treasurer’s office also are involved in those cases.

The theft from the school system, a partial payment for the $1.2 million installation of Boise State University-style blue turf at Courtland, also was reported to the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436


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