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Law firm suing bank after losing $400G to Nigerian scam

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#1 Hum

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 22:20

In Minnesota, a firm of legal eagles that got tricked out of nearly $400,000 in a scam that has cost more than 80 law firms and attorneys some $31 million is suing Wells Fargo for not noticing a bogus check.

The con is believed to have started in the African nation that has given birth to a host of similar schemes. The Minnesota firm was stung by a con artist posing as a 40-year-old Korean woman injured in an accident while in Minnesota, who claimed she was owed money from a settlement. Authorities believe she was part of a ring headed by Emmanuel Ekhator, who Nigeria recently agreed to extradite to the U.S.

Here's how it worked: A phony client contacts a law firm asking for help collecting a debt. The firm demands payment from the debtor - who is really a cohort of the scammer. When the cohort sends in a phony check, the law firm deposits it and deducts its fees. It sends along the balance to the bogus client, who is long gone by the time the bank - and the firm - discover the check is phony.

More than 200 lawyers or firms caught on before getting burned, but Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, of Edina, Minn., was one of dozens to get scorched. But this firm did what law firms do best: It sued.

In a 50-page lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, the firm claims Wells Fargo had ample warning that a Nigerian-based fraud ring was targeting U.S. attorneys in 2009 and should have noticed "numerous inaccuracies" on the check. But, says the firm, the bank ignored red flags and allowed the phony client's share of the collected debt to be wired to a bank in Hong Kong, where it disappeared.

"Wells Fargo did not issue the wire transfer in good faith because it failed to notice numerous red flags surrounding the circumstances of the transaction and the appearance of the check," the lawsuit reads.

The "most obvious" flag was that the branch's address written on the check was misspelled, according to the suit.

Robert Milavetz told FoxNews.com the lawsuit, which seeks to have a judge reverse the $396,500 charge to the law firm's trust account, will prevail in court.

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#2 jnelsoninjax

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:40

So you fall for a stupid email scam and then turn around and sue the bank because they let you fall for a stupid email scam? Does that about sum it up? God bless America! The land of the sue happy! :D

#3 floopydoodle

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:07

So you fall for a stupid email scam and then turn around and sue the bank because they let you fall for a stupid email scam? Does that about sum it up? God bless America! The land of the sue happy! :D

E-mail scam? Did you even read the article? Now, who's stupid?

#4 Aeikus

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:20

E-mail scam? Did you even read the article? Now, who's stupid?


Yeah, I didn't see the word "E-mail" any where in that article. :p

#5 OP Hum

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 14:25

The "most obvious" flag was that the branch's address written on the check was misspelled, according to the suit.


So they have no schools in Nigeria ... ?

#6 Growled

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:23

So glad these legal eagles are not my lawyers.

#7 OP Hum

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:32

I think I got scammed by a Nigerian the other day.

I was looking up something, when a very dark man, with a terrible accent, wanted 'help' paying his mobile phone bill.

From what I could see of his account, he hadn't paid on his phone since before Feb.

He kept wanting to use MY phone, 3 different times, and I don't think he ever ended up 'paying' his bill.

The whole thing was just a way to use up my minutes.


Never again Nigeria !