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Hackers Steal $500K from Virgin Islands Bank

Computer hackers have exploited weaknesses in the security technology of a Puerto Rican bank to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars out of two U.S. Virgin Islands government accounts, a finance official said Thursday.

Hackers accessed the U.S. Caribbean territory's accounts with banking giant Banco Popular, making numerous small withdrawals for up to two months until government officers discovered the thefts totaling $500,000 in August, Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull said.

The San Juan-based bank has credited the U.S. Virgin Islands accounts with $300,000 and is planning to replace the rest of the missing money in coming days, Turnbull said. It's not clear why the Virgin Islands government did not disclose the theft earlier.

One of the accounts contained money earmarked for the Human Services' Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, she said. The other account was a general fund.

Turnbull said federal officials had a suspect in the case but would not elaborate.

The FBI could neither confirm nor deny an investigation. Local police said they had not been notified about the theft.

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