The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into how $118,650 in international phone calls were reportedly routed through the Boca Grande Community Center system between Aug. 12 and Aug. 13.
Bob Green, senior supervisor of the Lee County Parks & Recreation Department on Boca Grande, said the problem had first been reported to the Lee County IT staff, which then reported it to police.
"The phones kept ringing and ringing and when we picked it up no one was there," Green said.
Kelly Ridenour, senior telecom specialist for Lee County, reported the crime at 3:21 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. She declined to comment on an active investigation.
The LCSO reported Ridenour said the phone lines at the Boca Grande Community Center, 131 West First St., had been "hacked" and $118,650 in calls were made to other countries. The Boca Grande Community Center did not authorize the calls.
Ridenour told police she has spreadsheets and supporting documents regarding the calls. As the report was taken over the phone, no sworn statement was made to the LCSO.
If the calls are determined to be fraudulent, as expected, who pays the charges becomes a question for law enforcement and long-distance providers to sort out.
"CenturyLink works with our business customers to make them aware they are responsible for securing their phone equipment and they are liable for fraudulent charges," said spokesman Brian Hammen. "Given our commitment to customer service we are working to with Lee County to reach a settlement on CenturyLink's portion of the fraudulent charges."
Hammen said other long-distance carriers are involved and Lee County law enforcement will work with them on what responsibility they bear.
LCSO investigating officer, Brooke Jeffries, has turned the lead investigator duties on the case over the FBI, according to Sgt. Tony Schall. The investigation continues.