Trust Account Scam

You receive what appears to be a legitimate inquiry from a prospective client, often (but not always) from another state or country. Here is a new variant employing the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Calls originate from what appears to be a legitimate medical equipment company, looking for an attorney to draft a lease agreement.
  • After agreeing to do the work, you receive a cashier’s check, which you deposit in your trust account.
  • The client asks you to make a wire transfer from your trust account to another account.
  • After you have wired funds as directed, you learn that the cashier’s check was fraudulent, your trust account is now overdrawn, and you are liable to the bank for the deficit.

Scams like these have been active for more than a decade but are reoccurring now. The FBI has been notified. Read a detailed State Bar Ethics Alert from 2011 on Internet scams targeting attorneys.