Attorneys who handle personal injury cases have been receiving messages from potential “clients” offering a slice of a $250,000 settlement that has already been agreed to — if the attorney will simply cash the settlement check, take the fee, and forward the balance of the settlement money to the client. There are two variations to this scam.
The first variation is a money laundering and tax evasion scam. Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips explains how it is done in LAWYERS SCAMMED! How Attorneys Are Getting Robbed & Unknowingly Help Money Launderers and Tax Cheats.
The second variation is a theft scam with the lawyer as its ultimate victim. The attorney is retained for a case and shortly thereafter hears that the “client” settled it already. All the lawyer has to do is deposit the settlement check in his clients’ trust account and send the “client” his share of the money. After the lawyer does these things, however, he finds out that the settlement check was fake, or there was no money in the account. Having used his trust account money to pay the “client,” the attorney finds himself on the hook to reimburse the trust account. This version of the scam has been around for over a decade. (See, for example, Fraud Alert: New and Old Scams Targeting Attorneys, California State Bar Association.)
Free agreement for a legitimate “second opinion” in a dog bite case
In addition to representing his own clients, Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips gives “second opinions” to lawyers and dog bite victims about the settlement value of their dog bite case. You can download and use, for free, a copy of his specially drafted Attorney Retainer Agreement for Limited Legal Services – Estimate of Settlement Value of Case.