BLOG

Legal Ethics and Lawyer Scammers Do Not Take COVID Holidays

03/30/2020

I love it when a ready-made blog topic drops right into my lap. Not that I’m lacking for ideas. My Evernote “Blogs” note currently has 41 topic subjects of varying complexity awaiting my attention. But stuck at home the last two weeks in my COVID-19 bunker, I have been seeking inspiration for a novel. A novel coronavirus legal ethics topic, that is. And Friday, it arrived, directly to my in-box. An e-mail message from Alejandro Hernandez, the Managing Director of Jorhe Technologies Group, Inc.:

Legal-Ethics-3-30-2020-Blog-Email-Image.png

Of course it was a scam, and a really old one. I first lectured about this variety of lawyer scam – the “dear counselor” con – at CLE International’s 14th Annual Ethics Conference, on Pearl Harbor Day 2009, and it was old even then. This e-mail had all the classic hallmarks:

  1. It came out of the blue;
  2. It was from a company I, and no one else, has ever heard of;
  3. It suggested, but did not outright state, it was from a foreign country (the +52 country code is Mexico, if the sender’s nom de scam wasn’t blatant enough);
  4. It used the word “urgently”; and
  5. It offered, without prompting, to pay my “retainer fees and to “send [me] other important and sensitive documents.”

In a particularly nice and timely touch, the opening paragraph had added to the end of the undoubtedly cribbed copy from which it was derived an oblique reference to the ongoing pandemic: “please stay safe out there in this hard times.” “Alejandro” had even taken the time to research at my credentials and learn that I practice copyright law.

Of course I was not going to respond. But I do have a soft spot for such phishermen, particularly ones that demonstrate some initiative in dusting off and updating really, really old lawyer trust account scams. So I studied the message a bit. Continue Reading

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles F. Luce, Jr.

Attorney