About Accession Law of Madison, Wisconsin

“Accession” [ak-sesh-uhn] noun– that which augments, expands, grows, increases, or improves.

Synonyms: accretion, addition, attainment, augmentation, enlargement, extension, improvement.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Warning - Cashier's Check Scam Attempted

The following is a scam that was attempted against Accession Law recently.  A "client" contacted us seeking representation in a collection matter.  We were initially contacted by email and then by telephone.  The "client" sought to recover amounts owed under a promissory note.  So far, nothing unusual.

After sending terms of retainer and requesting a fee deposit, I received an email confirmation that I was being retained along with a copy of the promissory note.  I confirmed that I would undertake no action and did not represent the "client" until I received back the signed retainer agreement and fee deposit.  I was assured that a check was to be issued within 1 week.

A few days later, I received a call from the "debtor" who indicated that the "client" told him to contact me because I was handling the account.  "Call my lawyer."  I told the "debtor" that I could not confirm or deny whether I was representing "client" but that I was not in a position to undertake any action on the file.  "Debtor" told me that he just wanted to resolve the claim and was prepared to offer $120,000 in settlement of the $200,000 debt.

I reported the contact to "client."  He told me he would take the deal.  I again reminded him that I was not his attorney and had received neither the retainer agreement nor the retainer payment and that I would not undertake any action on his behalf .

Shortly thereafter, I received in the mail a cashier's check from "debtor" in the amount of $120,000 payable to me.  The check, of course, turned out to be a forgery.  Apparently the next step of the scam would have me deposit the check into my trust account, pay myself for my troubles, and then issue the remainder to "client."  If all of this happened before my bank learned of and reported to me the fraud, the "client" would have traded the fraudulent check for real money from our trust account.

We did not fall for the scam, but I do warn people that the cashier's check was well made, that the backstory seemed plausible, and that there apparently is some lag between when a forged check is deposited and when the merchant is advised of the forgery.

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