Lawyers are Just as Susceptible to Scams as Anyone

I have to comment on this scam because many lawyers are getting slammed, and I routinely get solicited from my private web-site for this type of scam:

Someone representing an Asian company goes onto my web-site and tells me they need to collect a six figure judgment against “suppliers” in New York or other states. The source is my actual web-site (Static Form) and is NOT a spam based e-mail. So someone is actually taking the time to go to my web-site– Thanks, but NO thanks. I suppose they see that I do large litigation type cases, including some breach of contract (collection-type cases).

The overseas company seems legitimate. One time, I had my trusty family member with contacts in Europe actually call the company to see if it was legitimate. The e-mail address appears to be from a recognized, established, publicly-traded Asian (or whatever nationality) company.

Credible sources say that other attorneys have actually commenced communication with the potential “client” by e-mail, entered into engagement letters, obtains documents supporting the debt (or judgment) and begins to work “collect” on the new matter. Some have, unfortunately, even “settled the debt” with the company that “owes” the money. As part of the satisfaction, the debtor provides the attorney with a bank check. The attorney deposits the bank check, deducts his/her fee and arranges for a wire to the overseas client. The bank wires the funds before the bank check clears, and the check is forged, causing the bank to reverse and sometimes freeze the the attorney’s account (usually escrow accounts).

Obviously, this is a serious problem that can lead to immediate disbarment for failure to protect the escrow funds. Please, whether you are a lawyer or not, beware of scam artists bearing “gifts,” including bank checks.

Use extra diligence in accepting matters initiated by overseas parties not known. You have a responsibility to protect yourself and your clients. Although the allure of international business litigation can be mesmerizing, please ensure that your client selection processes avoid this common problem.

The forged bank check is also a common problem for everyday businesses.