Publisher Conde Nast falls into $8 million email trap

NEW YORK (Reuters) - All it took was one e-mail to swindle $8 million from publishing company Conde Nast.

Papers filed by U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan said the publisher of magazines Vogue, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, was tricked into thinking it was paying its regular printing company but was in fact being billed by a man identified as Andy Surface in Texas.

A company spokeswoman said Conde Nast does not comment on active legal proceedings.

The six-week scheme started in early November when Conde Nast received an e-mail purporting to be from Quad/Graphics, the company’s usual magazine printers, asking for payment to a different account, the court papers said.

Conde Nast, the papers said, simply filled out the form in the e-mail, faxed it over, and began sending payments to the new account.

By late December, Conde Nast’s real printer outfit contacted the publisher to say it had not received any payments, raising the New York-based media company’s suspicions.

Commercial printing company Quad/Graphics was not immediately available for comment.

The forfeiture allegation, filed in Manhattan federal court on March 30, was signed by a U.S. Secret Service agent. The Secret Service often investigates financial crimes.

Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Greg McCune