Dear sirs. We are a legal blog based in the New York City. One of our Nigerian investors has mysteriously passed away and left us a lot of money. We are trying to increase the number of advertisers on our site, and have a unique proposal for you. We will send you the money and then we would like you buy adds on our site. You can keep some of the money for your trouble. We only want to do this deal with the “Guest” commenter. If you are “Guest,” please send us your bank details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a check.
We doubt that would work on you, oh savvy ATL readers, but it might work on Bradley Arant Boult Cummings (a firm that came out of Southern merger mania). The firm was recently taken in an e-mail scam and lost $400,000. From the ABA Journal:
The Nashville Post (sub. req.) reported yesterday that the law firm wired more than $400,000 to the foreign bank account of a scammer posing as a client. Lawyers at the firm believed the funds were covered by a check it had deposited–a check that turned out to be phony.
The law firm says it quickly reported the scam to the FBI, leading to the arrest of suspects and the freezing of the funds. “It was an elaborate criminal plan on many levels,” Bradley Arant managing partner John Grenier said in a statement released to the ABA Journal. The firm quickly reported the crime, leading to “the apprehension of the suspects in this scheme and the freezing of the funds.”
How did the firm get taken by the elaborate criminal plan? After the jump.
The ABA Journal says:
A target law firm gets a referral from someone posing as an out-of-state lawyer to enforce a simple contract dispute or to collect a debt from a local corporation. The law firm agrees to represent the “client,” a foreign corporation.
The law firm sends a demand letter, the debtor forwards a check, and the law firm deposits the check in its trust account. It then wires the money to the bank account of the foreign client, after keeping part of the sum for fees and costs.
“Things fall apart,” the TBA says, “when the bank on which the check is drawn notifies everyone that the check is a counterfeit fraud–by which time it is too late to stop the wire transfer, and the law firm’s client trust account is now out the proceeds.”
No word on whether the foreign corporation to which Bradley Arant sent funds was based in Nigeria.
Bradley Arant Reportedly Scammed Out of More Than $400K [ABA Journal]
TBA scam warning comes too late for one major firm [Nashville Post]
Earlier: Law Firm Merger Mania: Mid-Size Mergers in the South and Midwest