BALTIMORE — A new report from the inspector general details how the city of Baltimore accidentally deposited more than $2 million into the bank account of an organization that already owed unpaid property taxes.
It all started in June 2021, when another company tried to pay the city over $1 million to settle a property tax debt.
That’s when a vendor hired by the City to process these payments managed to incorrectly apply the money to another company’s account.
In March 2022, the seller realized his mistake and attempted to reverse the action.
But instead, they issued a refund doubling the money sent to the unintended business.
In total, the company ended up receiving $2,014,571.63 in erroneous payments.
The owner of this company then allegedly decided in April to deposit this money in his own bank account, later spending $58,000.
Despite several letters and subpoenas, the City never recovered the $58,000, but was able to obtain the return of $1,956,216.08.
According to the Inspector General, the business owner has been referred to law enforcement for possible criminal offences. At the time of the report’s release, the company still owed the city more than a thousand dollars in back taxes.
In response to the report, the city’s Department of Finance said the seller has so far been unable to recreate or explain how the payment was duplicated.
As for how the initial payment ended up in the wrong company account in the first place, the City blamed it on a faulty key that transposed the numbers.