Fake websites for 4 BigLaw firms might have been created to get deal information

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Fake websites for four large law firms created in 2008 might have been part of an attempt to get insider information on pending Wall Street deals, according to newly declassified FBI documents obtained by the American Lawyer.

The targeted law firms were Greenberg Traurig; Sullivan & Cromwell; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; and Cravath, Swaine & Moore, the American Lawyer reports.

Sullivan & Cromwell told the FBI that it thought the scammer was trying to intercept email with information about mergers and acquisitions.

The fraudster had changed hyperlinks to three of the law firm websites on Wikipedia, so that readers would be taken to the fake websites, hosted by, the article reported. The websites looked like the real thing, but emails were changed to send messages to the fraudster.

The law firms told the FBI that no confidential information was disclosed to the fraudster who created the websites. The FBI never made an arrest, although it traced an IP address to the campus at Florida Atlantic University and an address in Parkland, Florida. The person who created the websites used gift cards purchased from a mall to pay for them.

The American Lawyer explained how the law firms learned of the fake websites.

Greenberg Traurig was the first firm to suspect that something was amiss when it received a call from Google in June 2008 about an attempt to create new email accounts for the firm. The person who called Google claimed to be a summer associate, but the caller’s credit card was declined.

Wachtell learned of a problem when it received a call in July 2008 from a hosting site seeking payment for the fraudulent domain registration.

Sullivan & Cromwell learned of its fake website from Wachtell.

Little information was revealed about the Cravath incident, according to the American Lawyer.

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