Attorneys, Beware of Yet Another Internet Fraud!


There is yet another internet fraud making its way to lawyers.

This scam goes like this:

Lawyer James Jones receives an unsolicited e-mail from an Alex Wilford in England. 

Wilford claims that he is owned money under a settlement agreement for personal injuries with his former employer in New York.  The former employer agreed to pay $175,000 but has paid only $55,000 thus far.  Wilford wants Jones to collect the balance.    

In the e-mail Wilford asks Attorney Jones to sue for $120,000 which is the unpaid balance.  Jones falls for the bait and agrees to handle what appears to be a routine collection matter for an 1/3 contingency fee.

Within a week of being hired Jones is able to settle the matter on a mere letter of representation.  Jones is overjoyed on making a hefty fee on so little work.  He receives a bank check for $120,000 which he quickly deposits into his escrow account.  The funds clear in about 2 days, and Jones immediately wires $80,000 to Wilford’s bank in England.  Jones retains $40,000 for his fee.

About 5 days after the funds were wired to Wilford, Jones’s bank charges back the $80,000 because the bank check was counterfeit.  Jones’s bank claims that it is permitted to charge-back on a fraudulent check.  Jones is stuck , and he must fight his bank to try to get back the $80,000.  Of course, Wilford and his gang have fled into the internet ether with Jones’s $80,000. 

Gotcha!

This is a variation of the two other internet frauds that I discussed previously here, here, and here

First, the internet criminals cooked-up the “unpaid invoices collection” scheme.  Next, they circulated the “unpaid divorce judgment” routine.  Now, they are circulating a new variation, “the unpaid personal injury settlement agreement.”

Lawyers, beware!

Mark E. Seitelman, 8/18/10, www.seitelman.com.

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