Bar News - November 18, 2011
Lawyers are Targets of New Scams
Lawyers are often targets of increasingly sophisticated schemes that attempt to induce attorneys to deposit checks in a client trust account. After the bank makes the funds "available," but before the check has cleared and settled, the scammers seek the return of some portion of the money, with a portion to be retained by the attorney. If the attorney sends a check before the bank has determined that the deposited check is fraudulent, the attorney is held responsible for the lost funds.
In attorney George Bruno’s case, the scammers, "Mr. & Mrs. Hiroyuki" provided a Tokyo street address and are seeking the attorney’s help in obtain EB-5 immigration status as investors, and proposed to invest $1 million in US businesses with the attorney’s help. The American Immigration Lawyers Association recently had sent an alert warning attorneys about this exact scam (including the exact same amount as the "check" received by Bruno’s office.)
For More Information
The Oklahoma Bar has a frequently updated page with links to new variations on scams aimed at lawyers: www.okbar.org/scams.
The NH Attorney Discipline Office recently posted an alert.
And the Florida Bar recently reported on a disturbing new development – a potential scam involving a check presented at settlement that was cashed without the parties being aware, using the scanner on a smartphone! The danger in this technology is that there are no markings on the check indicating whether it has been processed. To read more, visit www.floridabar.com.