Michigan firm sues bank over theft of $560,000

A Michigan-based manufacturing firm is suing its bank after online crooks depleted the company's account by $560,000 via a series of unauthorized wire transfers last year.

In a lawsuit filed in December, Experi-Metal Inc. (EMI) of Sterling Heights blamed the loss on its financial institution Comerica Bank's security practices, and on the bank's alleged failure to heed signs that should have alerted it to the fraudulent activity.

The complaint, filed in Macomb County Circuit Court, demanded that Comerica reimburse EMI for the loss, along with interest, attorney's fees and any other damages the court saw fit to impose. News of the lawsuit was reported by earlier this week.

The lawsuit is one of several that have been filed over the past few months involving banks and customers victimized by online theft. In this case, the theft occurred after an employee at EMI supplied the crooks with the company's online banking credentials in response to a phishing e-mail that purported to come from the bank.

The credentials were then used to initiate wire transfers totaling $560,000 from EMI's account to numerous accounts in Russia, Estonia, Scotland, Finland, China, and the U.S. Once deposited, the funds were quickly withdrawn.

In its lawsuit, EMI alleged that the phishing scam had worked only because of Comerica's routine practice of sending e-mails to customers asking them to click on a link to update their security information.