Law firm Scam Continues
June 9, 2012 Leave a comment
According to LTN, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recently released its 2011 Internet Crime Report, which describes the history of the scam:
In July 2007, IC3 began receiving complaints from U.S. law firms that subject(s) contacted them via email requesting assistance with third party debt collection. The victims received checks from the alleged debtor along with instructions to wire transfer the collected funds minus attorney fees. In most instances, the funds were wired to banks in Korea, China, Ireland and Canada. In all instances the checks were counterfeit.
In a twist on this scam, the criminals purported to be a divorcee needing the law firm to handle the divorce settlement. In another instance, the scammers tried to purchase real estate in the U.S., using law firms to handle the transaction.
The law firms that wired funds experienced large monetary losses because the checks were usually in excess of $100,000. IC3 received over 600 attorney collection scam complaints from victims who reported more than $16 million in losses.
In August 2011, a Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria granted the extradition of Emmanuel Ekhator to the U.S. Ekhator allegedly defrauded U.S. law firms of more than $29 million in a third party debt collection scam. Ekhator will stand trial on the charges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Given the down economy and the lure of a quick buck, don’t look for these scams to go away any time soon.