Attorneys, like investigators want to get quick results for clients. Attorneys are also accustomed to handling large amounts of money, on behalf of their clients. Con artists in China are capitalizing on the goal oriented efficiency of US attorneys by targeting them with the scheme described below, the use of which is currently growing.
Description of Fraud Scheme
Attorney is contacted by a US company. The US company is being threatened with a lawsuit by another US company for non payment to a Chinese manufacturer, which produced goods for a joint project.
The client advises that they have partial payment and asks the attorney to negotiate payment terms for them. The attorney contacts the complaining company and negotiates partial payment, directly to the Chinese manufacturer, effective within a few days, with a follow up payment a few months later.
Client provides the partial payment (between $100,000 and $200,000) in the form of a bank check, drawn on a US bank. The attorney deposits the bank check and wires the agreed upon partial payment (well in the 6 figures) to the bank account for the Chinese manufacturer.
The attorney is contacted by his (or her) bank a few days later and advised that the check, while an official bank check, had a faked signature and is fraudulent.
What is different about this scam?
The target of the scam is attorneys, normally a hard target for cons.
This scam involves amounts higher than normal scams. Attorneys are accustomed to handling large amounts of money. Attoneys are also pro-active and sensitive to deadlines. They will push the envelope - time wise, in order to bring a good result for their client. This means that the attorney may be tricked into sending a wire transfer before the client's bank check has officially cleared the attorney's account.
Lastly, the con artists in this scam, unlike most scams from China have an excellent command of the English language. Here is an example of the text in an email sent in a recent scam:
Example of Email from Con Artists:
Dear Xxxx Xxxxxxxxxx,
Attached is the signed copy of the fee agreement.Please,do acknowledge receipt.
I am looking for a way forward in this matter and I am satisfied with the details portrayed in the agreement.I will be sending hard copies of the document in the mail to your office.
We have been communicating with our debtor, Mr. Xxxxx Xxxxxxxx of XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX, INC.,over the past few days regarding our intention to take legal action against them,we have informed them that your firm will be handling this case from henceforth and that any further communication should be directed to your office.However,they have stated clearly that they want an out of court settlement,thereby pleading for more time to set up the payment.As I have earlier anticipated,We prefer to reach an informal resolution and still maintain a good relationship with our client.
This morning, I received a call from Xxxxxx Xxxxx,that they will be making a partial payment of the money owed to us to avoid any legal action against them and also will be responsible for our attorney's fee as stated in our contract agreement.He stated that the reason for the delay in payment was that the goods were shipped to their subsidiary office in Canada.We strongly believe that they have resolved in making this payment due to our recent involvement with your firm in this matter.The high reputation of your firm has played a great role in this recent development.
They have promised that they will be sending the partial payment directly to your office on or before 24th of November, 2011 and the balance will be sent out on the 9th of December, 2011 to avoid any lawsuit.
I suggest we take no action for now but give them the requested time to come up with the payment,and if they should fail to make good their promise this time,then we can proceed accordingly.
Please,be rest assured that if your office should receive this payment as promised by our debtor,your retainer fee will still be paid according to the agreement signed.
I await your acknowledgment of this email and also give me a call if you have any question.
Thank you for your services.
X xxx X Xxxxxxxx INC.
XXXXX Industrial Road
Xxxxxxxx, MI XXXXX
Direct Tel: XXX-XXX-XXXX
When negotiating payment for a client, do not agree to payment on behalf of your client within a time frame too short to allow your client's check to clear your bank. Confirm clearance of your client's check before wiring funds on his behalf.
How can we help?
In coordination with our China partner at www.ChinaInvestigator.com, we have been successful in stopping the release of funds in these matters, as well as in identifying the persons behind the schemes.
The first step is to contact the relevant parties at the bank to stop the release of the funds. If the Subject has already received the funds, we work to identify him. We talk to the bank manager, teller, guard, anyone who may have information. We obtain of arrange for the preservation of video footage showing the person who collected the funds, any accomplices and hopefully, the vehicle (and license plate) that they drove away in.
We work with you to get a case opened with the police in the correct jurisdiction and provide the police with the inforrmation they need to lead the criminal portion of the case. Every case has different leads and different angles and each case requires a slightly different approach.
If are a a victim of this scam or another scam, please give us a call for a free consulatation and good advice. Our telephone number is 866-392-0072.
If you have been a victim of this scam in the past, please email us your story and outcome, so that we can update other attorney would-be-victims with additional information.
Filley and Associates Team
Offices in San Francisco and Marin
Toll Free: 866-392-0072
San Francisco Office: 415-462-1631
San Rafael Office: 415-462-0688
Business Hours in California are:
In China: 11 pm to 8 am
In Melbourne: 3 am to 12 pm
In London: 4 pm to 1 am