Criminal Justice

Six Indicted in $32M Internet Collection Scam That Snagged 80 Lawyers

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Federal prosecutors have indicted six people in a $32 million Internet collections scam that victimized 80 lawyers in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Alabama and Georgia.

The indictment accuses five Nigerians and one Canadian of wire fraud and conspiracy, the Patriot News reports. The scam also operated in Canada, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, China and Singapore.

The indictment in the Middle District of Pennsylvania follows a multiyear investigation, the story says. Although the indictment alleges wrongdoing in four states, similar scams are operating throughout the United States.

The scam worked this way: An e-mail would seek a lawyer’s help collecting a debt, divorce settlement or other money. Then the lawyer would be contacted by a purported representative for the person or company owing the money who would offer to pay the debt. When the lawyer received the check, he or she would deposit it, and then would wire the funds to an Asian bank before discovering the check was fraudulent.

The Patriot News spoke to a Pennsylvania lawyer who fell victim to the scam. “This has adversely affected my life. I feel extremely violated,” the lawyer said. “This was very, very sophisticated.”

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