Categorized | Opinion

Lawyer Clicks Away $289,000

By David Peel

David PeelAs an injury lawyer, I hear about newsworthy stories involving lawyers from all over the country. A San Diego attorney reportedly simply clicked on an email attachment, and days later his entire bank account was swiped clean.  To add insult to injury, apparently, the bank will not cover the loss.
Apparently, the lawyer got an email appearing to be from usps.gov. Understandably, he thought it was from the United States Postal Service. He clicked the attachment as requested.
Like many people do nowadays, he banked online. Reports indicate he tried to log onto his law firm’s bank account later that day, apparently on that same computer. It did not work correctly, and he received a call from a person claiming to be with the bank. The alleged bank employee appeared to try to help him, but actually took him through a series of steps over the next several days that caused the entire balance of almost $300,000 to be transferred to a Chinese bank account. Apparently, the attachment he clicked on recorded his keystrokes.
But, that lawyer had nothing on one Iowa lawyer.
While representing a suspect in a criminal case in 2011, the lawyer was presented with documents saying that upon payment of $177,660 in taxes owed on an inheritance in Nigeria, the sum of $18,800,000 would be released to the suspect. In consideration for a fee equal to ten percent of the funds recovered, the lawyer agreed to represent him in the Nigerian transaction. Amazing.
But then, he got other clients of his to loan money to the suspect for purposes of securing the Nigerian inheritance by buying trumped up stuff like an “anti-terrorism certificate.”
When the fictional Nigerian inheritance never came, the attorney was out legal fees and, more importantly, all those loans made by his various clients never got repaid. The victims were hurt twice.
Then the ethical charges hit. He was suspended for a year. However, he was not found to have been fraudulent. In fact, the Board seemed to be amused as they wrote that he “…appears to have honestly believed — and continues to believe — that one day a trunk full of . . . one hundred dollar bills is going to appear upon his office doorstep,” the Board asserted before the commission that his conduct might aptly be described as delusional, but not fraudulent.
Be careful what you click!
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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