If you think lawyers are too savvy to fall prey to an e-mail scam, think again. One lawyer who fell victim to it estimates that the scam has bilked lawyers out of more than $1 million. That lawyer is now being sued by Wachovia Bank for the $190,000 he wired from his escrow account to a Korean bank on behalf of what he believed was a company in Taiwan.
Now, another lawyer has fallen prey to the scam. Houston lawyer Richard T. Howell Jr. tells Texas Lawyer that his firm was bilked out of $182,500 by a client who contacted and hired him through e-mail. Howell was contacted by e-mail by what he believed to be a Japanese company, Techno Design Industry, seeking to collect some $3.6 million in accounts from U.S. customers. The company signed a retainer agreement by which he would receive a third of any amounts he collected. Before he could file lawsuits against any of the customers, Techno notified him that one customer wanted to make a partial payment. He received what appeared to be an official Citibank check from the supposed customer in the amount of $367,500. After confirming through Citibank that it had paid the check, he disbursed $182,500 to Techno. Needless to say, the check was counterfeit.