Posted Nov 19, 2012 06:03 pm CST
A Minnesota attorney says he was scammed into depositing what he thought was a real cashier’s check for nearly $300,000 from a legitimate collection matter into the trust account for his solo law practice.
Now Lawrence Marofsky is being sued by TCF Bank in federal court in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.
He says he hopes to settle with the bank, but despite having malpractice coverage and some money “obviously, this hits hard,” he tells the publication, warning other lawyers to watch out for similar fraud. “Make sure you find out that the check is in fact good, not from the bank you’re dealing with, but from the original bank,” he stated.
The article doesn’t make clear exactly what happened concerning the fake $298,750 check that Marofsky received, but such scams often involve an out-of-area client who makes contact with the attorney by email or phone. A seemingly legitimate cashier’s check for a large sum is received from a third party purportedly making a settlement in a matrimonial case or business dispute. Although the the attorney’s bank cashes the check, it may in fact not have cleared the issuing bank at that point. By the time the fraud is discovered, the lawyer may already have paid the client his or her share and is held accountable for the shortfall.
ABAJournal.com: “600 Flimflammed Attorneys and Law Firms Complained of Losing $16M Since 2007”
ABAJournal.com: “Law Firms Still Victimized in Fake-Check Web Scams; Trial Looms for Nigerian Accused in $32M Swindle”
ABAJournal.com: “Minnesota Law Firm Milavetz Gallop Files Suit Blaming Wells Fargo for Loss in Nigerian Scam”
ABAJournal.com: “State Bar of Texas Alert Says ‘Scam Artist’ Stole Nonpracticing Lawyer’s ID for Fake Website”